The Mutant Female Crayfish

If you think it would be neat to own a marbled crayfish and that having a female means it won’t make more, you would be mistaken to get a procambarus virginalis. This particular species is entirely female and replicates by self-cloning. It was an offshoot of slough crayfish that inherited some extra chromosomes and no longer needs a partner to reproduce. In fact the species has only been around for 25 to 30 years and already has major populations in Japan, Madagascar, and so much so in Europe that the EU has made it illegal to produce, distribute, or release them into the wild.


While they are not illegal to posses, distribute, or produce here in Canada. It is illegal to release them into the wild. And considering that it is estimated that one of these creatures could become 200 or 300 after just three months its hard to understand what anyone would do with them. This is why the government is recommending that people do not acquire these animals.


Given that they reproduce almost as quickly as the fictional “Tribble” from Star Trek, it is easy to understand why. So before you pick up one of these “Tribble” crayfish, be sure you know all the facts. They multiply like crazy, and you cannot just let them go out into the wild.


In fact there are both Federal regulations and Provincial regulations in place to prevent the release of invasive species into the wild. In Ontario the provincial regulations have punishments (section 44) which include; up to a $250,000 fine and/or up to 1 year imprisonment for a first offence and up to a $500,000 fine and/or up to 1 year imprisonment for a second offence.


Just remember, that could be a half a million dollar pet. Better not.


Image by The Nerd Patrol on Flikr under their license.

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