What is a gynandromorph, you ask? It is an organism that possesses both male and female characteristics. This butterfly, however, is a bilateral gynandromorph…that means that one half is female, and one half is male!
It’s a little complicated, but basically what happens is this:
During the earliest stages of development, like, really early, some of the cells don’t split the way they are meant to. Instead of an XY chromosome doubling into an XXYY chromosome before splitting, it it doubles and splits in a different way! Instead of the XXYY chromosome becoming two XY chromosomes, it becomes one X and one XYY chromosome.
Because it happens so early in the development process, large portions of the butterfly become female and large portions become male…in this case, it happens to be nearly 50/50!
This rare creature is mesmerizing! It’s a wonder what nature is capable of. These specimens are especially coveted by insect and butterfly collectors. Displayed in all of their wondrous glory, who wouldn’t want this awesome butterfly displayed proudly in their dining room or study? It really is too cool!
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