In the world of marbled crayfish, there are no fathers. Despite this, the females are able to reproduce without difficulty, although not through mating. Instead, they simply clone themselves.
The marbled crayfish is one of the few species that can reproduce through a process known as parthenogenesis. As a result of certain hormones, the unfertilized egg cells imitate a fertilization situation: they begin to divide and eventually mature into an organism. Young female marbled crayfish hatch from the unfertilized eggs – their DNA is an exact copy of the mother’s genes. Researchers are now trying to trace the origins of this genetic peculiarity.