17 July 2011

Gynandromorph "Great Mormon" butterfly

This gynandromorph Papilio Memnon butterfly fortuitously hatched in the puparium at this year’s Sensational Butterflies exhibition [at London's Natural History Museum]... 

As the coloring denotes, the butterfly is literally half female, half male — its sexual organs are half and half, and, as the BBC adds: “…even its antennae are different lengths”.

The Museum explains: “Insects can become gynandromorphs if the sex chromosomes do not properly separate during the first division of a fertilized egg, resulting in an insect with both male and female cells. They can also occur when an egg with two sex chromosomes, instead of a single one, gets fertilized by two sperm.
Via Wired Science.  Pix of normal Papilio Memnon here.  Those interested in the biology of the phenomenon can see more at my previous post on this subject.

1 comment:

  1. I am not sure that one egg can fertilize with 2 sperms as you suggested because egg cell has a strict mechanism to prevent that. Also gynandromorph does not have to be arose from diploid (2n) egg. Normal egg can fertilize with a normal one sperm then become a normal zygote. An abnormal cell division (chromosome nondisjunction) process after that though make the left and the right cell after the first division different, one become male cell and one become female cell.


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