Self-cloned mutant crayfish invade Belgian cemetery
Self-cloned mutant crayfish have invaded a cemetery in Belgium.
Hundreds of marbled crayfish, which are still females, have invaded the historic Schoonselhof cemetery in Antwerp, the Brussels Times reported.
“It is impossible to bring them all together. It’s like trying to empty the ocean with a thimble, ”said Kevin Scheers, of the Flemish Institute for Nature and Forest Research.
The creepy crustaceans underwent a mutation around 25 years ago that allows them to reproduce quickly on their own, allowing entire populations to spring up from one and dominate lakes, ponds and rivers.
The 4-inch creatures then feed on plants, snails and amphibians, depriving fish and other aquatic life of food sources.
Once owned by German animal collectors in the 1990s, they don’t occur naturally in nature, the outlet reported.
So it’s likely that the last invasion started with an invasion that escaped someone’s home, Scheers said.
“Someone apparently had the animal in their aquarium and then set it free in a canal,” Scheers told the Brussels Times.
“Often people are tired of their animals or the population of marbled crayfish becomes too large at home.”
The European Union banned in 2014 the possession or release of crayfish in the wild.