Gossamer Tapestry

Reflections on conservation, butterflies, and ecology in the nation's heartland

Monday, July 05, 2010

Bilateral Gynandromorph of the Regal Fritillary

We have been having great success in the lab with our Regal Fritillaries. More on that soon. Today we got quite a surprise from a Regal that just emerged from its chrysalis. Regal Fritillaries are sexually dimorphic. There are two rows of spots on the upper surface of the hindwings. In the males, the outer row is orange. In females, both rows are white.

The right half of the individual in this picture is male and the left half is female. The shapes of the two hindwings are subtly different. Even the body is split in half this way- the right half has a single male clasper. Bilateral gyandromorphy, while rare, is not unheard of in butterflies. It probably goes unnoticed (at least by people) most of the time, because when the males and females share the same color pattern, the effect is quite subtle. This individual is likely sterile- unfortunate when you are trying to rear as many adults as possible in order to establish a new population.

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6 Comments:

At 21:20, Blogger Wilma said...

That is so cool! (Maybe not for the butterfly.) Is it a chimera? Or is it just development gone awry?

 
At 22:05, Blogger Randy Emmitt said...

Doug,
This is really something! I recall seeing a Diana Fritillary Bilateral Gynandromorph in Tom Allen's book Butterflies of West Virginia and Their Caterpillars. That one would be hard to miss one wing being orange and the other blue black.

Thanks for sharing!

 
At 07:06, Blogger Floridacracker said...

New word for me today!
Thanks

 
At 05:08, Blogger Kathiesbirds said...

Doug, I did not know this happens in butterflies or bugs or any other animals than humans! Oh MY! You are right, I probably would not have noticed it if you hadn't pointed it out to me!

 
At 21:20, Blogger Doug Taron said...

Hi Wilma, Welcome to the Tapestry. This is usually the result of a nondisjunction event early in embryogenesis. The individuals are mosaics, but not chimeras.

Randy- A bilateral gynandromorph of a Diana would be WAY more dramatic than this.

FC_ Gynandromorph definitely qualifies as a ten-dollar word.

Kathie- This phenomenon seems to be more common in butterflies than in people (though it;s still a rare event in butterflies).

 
At 11:24, Blogger Katie Beilfuss said...

what great things you are doing, Doug. I am envious, and so, so proud of you. Keep it up!! three cheers for the Regal fritillary!

 

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