Monday, 31 August 2015

A mixed-up moth

A "gynandromorph" is an organism that contains both male and female characteristics, and it's a peculiarity of some insects, including moths, that they occasionally produce these 'half-and-half' creatures. The image here is from Richard Lewington in Appleford (vice-county Berkshire) and shows a Turnip moth which is male on the left half and female on the right (look closely and you can see the difference in the antennae). It was caught last night.

It's quite a rare event to see one of these mixed-up moths - presumably they don't happen very often and when they do it's likely that they are more than usually vulnerable to predators. As one of my mothing mentors used to say to me whenever we saw this species, "That's a turnip for the books" ...

Thanks to Richard for posting the image on Twitter and allowing me to re-post it here.

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