A gender-bending parasite has been discovered, which is believed to be responsible for turning male shrimps and other crustaceans into females.

Scientists believe the discovery could be a breakthrough for commercial mussel and oyster bed operations that suffer major consequences from the sex-change problem.

Microbiologists at the University of Portsmouth have found that the new species of paramyxean is responsible for the changes, which were previously put down to a parasite known as microsporidians.

But their research has shown that the microsporidians simply “hitchhike” on the newly found parasite, which causes the sexual dysfunction in various types of crustaceans.

Alex Ford, from the university’s Institute of Marine Science, said that the discovery could rewrite textbooks.

He said: “This is vital research because we’re seeing a gender imbalance that is a serious ecological problem affecting species further up the food chain.”

Newborn crustaceans are sexless and are very open to being directed to develop in a particular way.

‘Extra charge’ to land plane

An emergency stopover in Syria’s capital, Damascus, in the midst of a civil war was bad enough.

But then passengers on Air France Flight 562 were asked to open their wallets to check if they had enough cash to pay for more fuel.

The plane, heading from Paris to Lebanon’s capital, Beirut, diverted amid clashes near the airport.

An Air France spokesman said the crew inquired about passenger cash only as a “precautionary measure” due to “very unusual circumstances”.

Sanctions against Syria complicated payment for extra fuel. The spokesman said Air France found a way to pay for the fill-up without tapping customer pockets – and apologised. The plane landed safely in Beirut.

Singer Scott Mckenzie dies

Singer Scott McKenzie, best known for the 1967 Summer of Love hit San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair), has died at the age of 73.

A statement on Mr McKenzie’s website says he died in Los Angeles on Saturday. Mr McKenzie suffered from Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a disease that affects the nervous system, and had been in and out of hospital since 2010.

San Francisco was written by John Phillips, leader of the 1960s group The Mamas And The Papas, but Mr McKenzie recorded it and it has stood as an anthem for the 1960s counterculture movement.

In the 1967 file photo above, Scott McKenzie (centre) poses with The Mamas And The Papas in London.

Sign up to our free newsletters

Get the best updates straight to your inbox:
Please select at least one mailing list.

You can unsubscribe at any time by clicking the link in the footer of our emails. We use Mailchimp as our marketing platform. By subscribing, you acknowledge that your information will be transferred to Mailchimp for processing.