Rare dual sex moth emerges at the Natural History Museum

Published: 01 June 2008

The Natural History Museum is running an "Amazing Butterflies exhibition" from April to August. Part of the exhibition includes the rearing of live butterflies and moths.

Recently one of the moths in the pupae nursery emerged that was a little bit different from the others. The moth has the wing colouration of a female on its left wings and the colouration of a male on the right wings.

The moth (and all animals with a similar condition) is called a gynandromorph. The condition arises from a genetic error in the chromosomes of the moth. The result is that each half of the moth has all the characteristics of its gender, right down to divided reproductive organs.

The Natural History Museum only has 200 such specimens in their collection of some 9 million butterflies and moths so this is a rare find indeed!

The exhibition is open daily, 10am - 5pm, and runs from the 5 April to 17 August 2008. If you want to see the gynandromorph you should visit the exhibition as soon as possible as moths and butterflies have a short lifespan.

You can also read more information on the dual sex moth.

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