Rare Butterfly is Half Male, Half Female

This insect boasts both genders on each side of its body, making it half male, half female, new research shows.

Later identified as a Common Archduke butterfly (Lexias pardalis) - better known as the “brush-footed” butterfly - its unusual features were first realized by Chris Johnson, a volunteer at a butterfly exhibit at Drexel University.

Its two right wings were typical of the female of its species - large and brown with yellow and white spots. Meanwhile, its two left wings sported a darker green, blue and purple coloring, a pattern archetypal of males.

The strange sight is an example of a rare condition called gynandromorphy, which means an organism has physical characteristics of both males and females, resulting from a genetic mutation. It can either result in bilateral symmetry, as in this case with two sides distinctively male and female, or the gynandromorphy can be mosaic, where the two sexes aren’t defined as clearly.


Bilateral Gynandromorphy

A gynandromorph is an organism that exhibits both female and male characteristics. This phenomenon is most commonly observed in insects, and most visible in butterflies, which have strong sexual dimorphism. 

The cause of bilateral gynandromorphy occurs during mitosis of early development. One of the chromosomes do not split sex cellstypically. This leads to one of the two cells having sex chromosomes that cause male development and the other cell having chromosomes that cause female development

James Adams on Wikipedia Commons, Padawane on Wikipedia Commons