The marbled crayfish (Procambarus virginalis) is a mutant slough crayfish (Procambarus fallax) an American species; the mutation that allowed slough crayfish to reproduce asexually by cloning itself occurred a mere 25 years ago, and it came to Germany as an aquarium pet in 1995, sold as "Texas crayfish."
The marbled crayfish is incredibly prolific, laying hundreds of fertilized eggs at a time, each one containing a clone of itself. As aquarium owners ran out of space for their baby clones, they dumped them in lakes, where they thrived and multiplied like invertebrate tribbles.
Now they are taking over freshwater lakes and streams in Czech Republic, Hungary, Croatia and Ukraine, as well as Japan and Madagascar.
Geneticists and biologists are excited at the opportunity to study a newly speciated organism for insights into evolution; they also reassure us that cloning is only a good short term strategy for reproduction, and in 100,000 years or so, Mother Nature will rid us of the clones by producing a pathogen that they're all vulnerable to.
No word on how they taste -- someone really needs to create an invasive species "guilt-free" cookbook with recipes for Caribbean lionfish, American kudzu, English Japanese knotweed, Australian rabbits and European marbled crayfish.
This Mutant Crayfish Clones Itself, and It’s Taking Over Europe [Carl Zimmer/New York Times]
(Image: Chucholl C., CC-BY-SA)
Researchers from KU Leuven have published a paper showing how they can create a 40cm x 40cm "patch" that fools a convoluted neural network classifier that is otherwise a good tool for identifying humans into thinking that a person is not a person -- something that could be used to defeat AI-based security camera systems. […]
Level Scapes' desktop microterrariums are matchbox-sized, stackable sealed boxes with miniature ferns and mosses that only require water and sunshine; they're $39 for a set of six (25% of with the coupon code yankodesign). (via Yanko Design)
[I've been in love with Negativland since their legendary copyright battle with U2 and they've been a part of Boing Boing since 2001; it's a pleasure beyond words to be able to debut More Data, their characteristically trenchant video about data privacy and surveillance; see below for notes from Negativland. -Cory]
Happy DNA Day! April 25 is a day to recognize deoxyribonucleic acid – better known as the molecule that holds the code to our entire genetic makeup. What better way to celebrate than with a complete ancestry test that’s about more than just satisfying idle curiosity about your family tree? The lab techs at Vitagene use […]
For musicians, clubgoers or anyone in the thick of a loud environment, earplugs aren’t just an option. If you plan on keeping your hearing through sustained exposure to levels over 85 decibels (roughly the sound of a blender), they’re a must. The good news is, most earplugs will muffle the sound. The bad news is, […]
Seasoned chefs have a bit of a love-hate relationship with their cutlery. A really good set of knives has to prove its worth by being put through the wringer – and if they’re really good, they’ll still look great afterward. So it is with the Damasukasu Japanese 3-Piece Master Chef Hanshu Knife Set. Sitting in […]