Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hermaphrodites in Nature

Hey ya'll!!!

Hope you liked Ray's first posting here... I daresay that it's probably the most personal (and intimate!) one on this blog yet, I'm sure there will be more to come soon. Once a week... at least. I'll make sure of it since I am guessing it must be a very sound and welcome break for most of you (my readers, that is) after all this talk about insects and amphibians and butterflies and what have you. But I digress. So I was strolling through the world wide web this evening when I managed to find this most interesting post... "Rare Hermaphrodite Butterfly Hatches in London Museum". Now apparently the butterfly, which is available for viewing at the museum for a short-time only (presumably because of its relatively short insect lifespan), is split right down the middle in a 50 to 50 male to female sex ratio with the most obvious features being the different patterns on its wings. Experts say, however that the butterflies sex organs are also fused male-female right down the center of its body and the butterfly possesses one set of male mating clasps at the end of its abdomen and the ovipositing organ of the female on the other. Apparently gyndandromorph insects (the word gynandromorph having come from the Greek word gyn for female and andro for male) come to be when sex chromosomes do not properly separate during the first division of fertilized egg cells or, when a single egg is fertilized by two sets of sperm. Anyway, for those of you Malaysians who may wish to see such an amazing specimen of a butterfly yourself, fear not, there's no need to take a plane all the way to the UK as I quite distinctly remember a gynandromorphic specimen of our own National Butterfly, the Rajah Brooke's Birdwing on display at the Penang Butterfly Farms.

gynandromorphic Great Mormon butterfly. (Papilio Memnon)
Funny I should come across this just a week after we had that amazing class with Dr. Sharon on hermaphrodites and intersexed individuals.

1 comment:

Brittanie said...

Ohhhhhh~~~ My God! Thank you! Another mystery solved.....I think A friend of mine (who you would LOVE)had posted some photos of what appeared to be gynandmorphic butterflies but I wasn't sure what was going on at the time now I believe I have the answer.


I'm dying to blog this now. *Happy happy squee*