Friday, May 27, 2011

Shemales of the Wild

Leopard Lacewing butterfly
I came across these amazing pictures on  We all are familiar with hermaphrodites which are organisms that have reproductive organs normally associated with both male and female sexes.  These on the other hand are gynandromorphs, a whole horse (or in this case butterfly) of a different color.

You will notice that the wings are distinctly different.  According to Wikipedia, "A gynandromorph is an organism that contains both male and female characteristics."   The right half of the leopard lacewing butterfly pictured here is male while the left half is the typical paler color of the female.

According to the LiveScience posting, "This butterfly emerged from its chrysalis at Iowa State University's Reiman Gardens in 2008.  In almost nine years, Reiman Gardens has received about 163,116 pupae to populate its butterfly wing.  This leopard lacewing is the only gynandromorph butterfly to ever emerge."

Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Gynandromorphs occur when the organism is at the 8 to 64 cell stage.  If it occurs later, the animal is a mosaic with less distinctive changes mixed rather than divided in half  Gynandromorphs occur occasionally in crustaceans and birds as well, as seen in this confused looking Rose-breasted Grosbeak on the right.

There are 13 pictures including a cardinal and a carpenter bee which you can see on the LiveScience posting.

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