Fluttering both ways: One-in-10,000 'Ladyboy' butterfly is born half male and half female - with one blue and one pink wing [DailyMail 2012-05-09]
[Photo] Half male, half female, it is one of nature's rarest phenomena with only 0.01 per cent of hatching butterflies being born as gynandromorph. Scarlet Mormon (Papilio deiphobus rumanzovia).
It should be easy to guess from the fact that one wing is pink and the other blue - but this is an ultra-rare 'ladyboy' butterfly, which is born half male and half female.
The amazing insect, known as a gynandromorph, stunned scientists after it emerged from its chrysalis with a pink wing on its male side and a white wing on its female side.
It is one of natures rarest phenomena with only 0.01 per cent of hatching butterflies being born as gynandromorph.
The creature hatched at the Butterfly World Project in Chiswell Green, Hertfordshire, and was spotted by an eagle-eyed youngster on a school trip.
Its condition is caused when the sex chromosomes fail to separate during fertilization.
The butterfly in question - a Papilio rumanzovia, also known as Scarlet Mormon - with the sex division occurring straight down the middle of the abdomen.
Louise Hawkins, Butterfly World’s chief lepidopterist said: 'I feel very privileged to have witnessed such a rare phenomenon here at Butterfly World, especially fairly early in my career.
'Many lepidopterists will go their whole career without ever seeing a gynandromorph. I am very lucky.'
Sadly the butterfly was born without a fully formed proboscis, feeding tube, and has since died but the creature will be preserved for future study.