Insect Gynandromorphs


A gynandromorph butterfly found at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University
Photo: J.D. Weintraub

A Gynandromorph is an animal that is part male and part female. They occur when cells in part of the animal get genetic determinants for “male” and other cells have genes that condition “female” traits. Genetic determinants of sex reside on chromosomes. Chromosomes do not always segregate properly during cell division. Gynandromorphy has been observed in humans but is rare. Gynandromorphy appears in insects, but may often go unnoticed if males and females have similar coloration.

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University reports a gynandromorph Lexias pardalis butterfly aka “The Common Archduke”. Males and females have different color patterns (sexual dimorphism), which makes gynandromorphs easy to recognize. This specimen has the male color pattern on the left half and the female color pattern on the right half. The butterfly was shipped as pupa from Malaysia, purchased as part of a butterfly exhibit. Drexel will have the butterfly on display starting January 17, 2015.

About jjneal

Jonathan Neal is an Associate Professor of Entomology at Purdue University and author of the textbook, Living With Insects (2010). This blog is a forum to communicate about the intersection of insects with people and policy. This is a personal blog. The opinions and materials posted here are those of the author and are in no way connected with those of my employer.
This entry was posted in by jjneal, Environment, Taxonomy. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Insect Gynandromorphs

  1. Amber Danette says:

    what an amazing butterfly, and thanks for sharing.

  2. anastaciast says:

    Thank you for sharing this! I would have been pulling my hair out trying to identify a Gyandromorph!

  3. Great article. Are there any studies on how common this might be in butterflies? One in a hundred, one in a thousand, something like that?

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