Sunday, 8 November 2015

Amazing! Rare half-male, half-female butterfly emerges in UK

OCTOBER 26, 2015
by Susanna Pilny

An “extremely rare” gynandromorph butterfly has been discovered in the UK!

Found in an attraction known as Butterfly World—a center dedicated to pay tribute to and support conservation of the creatures—in Hertfordshire, UK, the butterfly is actually half male and half female, as evidenced by its coloring. With the split occurring directly down the center, one half is black (male) and the other is yellow with a spot of red (female).

Genes apparently are to be thanked for this amazing event. Lepidopterist Louise Hawkins told the Daily Mail that this outcome is fixed “very early on” as it’s a result of “sex chromosomes [that] don't divide properly” during mitosis.

The butterfly itself is a Great Mormon, which occurs naturally from Australia up to India and Japan. Butterfly World is hoping to have it on display over the next few days, as it is rather rare—the chance of half-male, half-female butterflies being hatched is around 0.01 percent.

But unfortunately, it probably will not live long, as the incorrect division of sex chromosomes usually results in internal organs that are, according to Hawkins, “a bit mixed up”. This also means that the butterfly is infertile—so no others are likely to hatch any time soon.

In other words: Catch it while you can!

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