Sunday, October 25, 2020

"Escaped cloned female mutant crayfish take over Belgian cemetery"

 From the New Zealand Herald:

Escaped self-cloning mutant crayfish created in experimental breeding programmes have invaded a Belgian cemetery.

Hundreds of the duplicating crustaceans, which can dig down to up to a metre and are always female, pose a deadly threat to local biodiversity after colonising a historic Antwerp graveyard.

"It's impossible to round up all of them. It's like trying to empty the ocean with a thimble," said Kevin Scheers, of the Flemish Institute for Nature and Woodland Research.

Marbled crayfish, which travel across land and water at night and eat whatever they can, do not occur in nature and are banned by the European Union.

Instead, the freshwater beasts, which are about 10cm big and voracious, are thought to have been bred by unscrupulous German pet traders in the 1990s.

They are similar to the slough crayfish found in Florida but are parthenogenetic, which means they reproduce with themselves and all their children are genetically identical females....