Butterfly experts a-flutter over strange, rare specimen

2008-07-09 00:00

Butterflies for Africa has a new winged rarity that has the butterfly enthusiasts there in a state of wonder.

The “bilateral gynandromorph” butterfly, meaning part female (gyn-) and part male (andro-), unexpectedly hatched out of a pupa imported from the Philippines. The Great Mormon butterfly (Papilio memnon) has a perfect division down the centre splitting the sexes.

“We had no idea this would arrive,” said Brett Cooper, general manager at Butterflies for Africa. He said the butterfly had hatched and then flown around for a while unnoticed before it was spotted by one of the guides.

“Gynandromorphism is one of the most spectacular and rare events that occurs in the insect world.”

Cooper said it is an extremely complex aberration occurring between the fertilisation of the egg and the final hatching of the pupae, which results in a mixing up of the X and Y chromosomes.

Sadly, the butterfly’s rarity means it is now on the end of a pin. “We cooled down the body temperature and it went into a state of hibernation and then died. If we had left it, it would have gotten tattered and damaged.”

The butterfly will be on display at Butterflies for Africa until mid-August after which it will be auctioned by Christies in London. Cooper said Christies estimate it may fetch up to R18 000.

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.