Treasure of the month
Half male, half female butterfly
S. Hanot © RMCA
The butterfly collection of the RMCA contains several unique gynandromorph specimens.
These gynandromorphs can be compared to hermaphrodites.
Half of the body has female characteristics; the other half has male characteristics. This is what we call ‘an error of nature’.
With butterflies the difference between sexes is often to be found in the colour patterns of the wings, as is the case with this specimen. For night butterflies, which include moths, it is the antennas that strongly differ.
The reproductive organs are also partially male and partially female and are not functional. Therefore, these butterflies can not breed.
Gynandromorphs are an extremely rare phenomenon in nature.
The RMCA has 21 specimens of gynandromorphs in its collection, which totals some 500,000 butterflies and moths.
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