12 February 2013

“Most curious creature, Captain...”

I have to thank Nicole Gugliucci. Over the weekend, I was participating a a Google Plus hangout with Nicole and a few other people, describing some of the research I’ve been doing on the pet trade in Marmorkrebs. I made a comment like, “If you have Marmorkrebs as a pet, you always end up with surplus, because you can’t stop them from reproducing.”

And Nicole said, “They’re like tribbles.”

I was stunned. Marmorkrebs are totally like tribbles! How could I not have realized this before?

Dr. McCoy: [on reasons for the tribbles' high reproduction rate] Well, the nearest thing I can figure out is that they're born pregnant. Which seems to be quite a time saver.

Indeed, the original episode, “The Trouble With Tribbles,” contains this bit of dialogue that could be applied to any number of invasive species:

Spock: Surely you must have realized what would happen if you removed the tribbles from their predator-filled environment into an environment where their natural multiplicative proclivities would have no restraining factors.
Cyrano Jones: [all in one breath] Well, of cour... What did you say?
Spock: [irritated but patient] By removing the tribbles from their natural habitat, you have, so to speak, removed the cork from the bottle and allowed the genie to escape.

I am so going to use this comparison in a talk

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