Usually, news of a mutant species that can clone itself would freak everyone out. But the internet responded with optimism and excitement to a study released Monday in Nature that said the marbled crayfish, which didn’t exist until 25 years ago, was popping up in large numbers around the world. The marbled crayfish is a unique species; because of a mutation, it can clone itself. The clones it reproduces are all female.
Carl Zimmer’s New York Times report on the study was widely shared in a popular tweet about the all-female crayfish:
This is WILD. A single mutation 25 years ago created an all-female species of crayfish that reproduces asexually in huge numbers, and they are literally taking over the world: https://t.co/znx6rsFIXp
— Laurie Voss (@seldo) February 6, 2018
The report inspired tweets welcoming our future female crayfish “overlords.”
I for one welcome our new female crawfish overlords https://t.co/C6CVAAlaiY
— Jake Tapper (@jaketapper) February 6, 2018
I for one welcome our asexual female crayfish overlords https://t.co/kqzlerRoP8
— Elle Maruska (they/them) (@ellle_em) February 6, 2018
And cheers for mutant females.
Attack of the Mutant Females! https://t.co/iT1HW8VswC
— Cheryl Morgan (@CherylMorgan) February 6, 2018
A couple of people made jokes that referenced Beyoncé songs.
all the single craydies https://t.co/cYaUPvaeRq
— Premee (@premeesaurus) February 6, 2018
The mutant crayfish really gave people hope for the future.
Misandrist crayfish give me hope 🙏🏽 https://t.co/O3DvaKbUuR
— Karli More Than Thou 💣 (@grapecranberry) February 6, 2018
Honestly this is the best end of the world scenario so far all hail our Arthropod Empresses https://t.co/xWHbFmeO3g
— your friend abby (@a_bi_gal) February 6, 2018
if this is what it's gonna take to close the pay gap then so be it. https://t.co/bBEhX8Trfp
— hend amry (@LibyaLiberty) February 6, 2018
ID LIKE TO PLAY THE LEAD CRAYFISH IN THE MOVIE (OR HER BEST FRIEND WATEVER) https://t.co/DXkFw5Z9O0
— Chelsea Peretti (@chelseaperetti) February 6, 2018
And human women wondered how we could clone females like the marbled crayfish.
Girls, let's talk about our menstrual cycle. How many of you have cramps? Spotting? Need to use lots of different size tampons and pads?
ok, all of the men have left this thread.
GIRLS, LETS FIGURE OUT WHAT THESE CRAYFISH DID AND REPLICATE IT. WOMEN UNITE. Bye, men. https://t.co/LyGAzKN4u8
— Red Quarantine Queen Painter (@Redpainter1) February 6, 2018
You’re probably still wondering how these mutant crayfish have thrived. According to the Times, “about 1 in 10,000 species comprise cloning females. Many studies suggest that sex-free species are rare because they don’t last long.”
So far, the marbled crayfish have lasted only a couple of decades. Scientists are monitoring how long this species will survive. Maybe the crayfish will survive long enough to briefly take over the world—or at least inspire a sci-fi film about it.