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Bowie is a remarkably uncommon lobster that is half blue and half orange, half male and half female.

Very Seldom Found Half-Female, Half-Male Bee in Panama

By Francis DamiPublished 3 months ago 5 min read

Bowie may be the rarest lobster in the world if not the North Atlantic. This unique specimen is divided exactly in half, with a typical orange color on the right side and a vivid blue color on the left. Furthermore, it is a prime example of a bilateral gynandromorph, with a perfect midline split that makes it half-male and half-female.

The extremely rare lobster was recently captured by a friend of Maine's fifth-generation lobster fisherman Jacob Knowles, whose incredibly popular Instagram and TikTok accounts highlight the surprisingly fascinating world of lobster harvesting.

Considering that bi-colored lobsters are only found in 50 million, and blue lobsters in two million, Bowie is incredibly rare when you take into account that it is also a bilateral gynandromorph.

"I've never seen a lobster quite like this one. Its back is split 50/50 between blue and normal, but beneath that, you'll see that it's half female and half male. The normal side is female, and the blue side is male."

When Jacob asked his fans to name the outrageously colorful lobster, they dutifully chose "Bowie" in honor of the late, great musician David Bowie. This may have been because Bowie challenged gender stereotypes or even because people thought he had different-colored eyes (in reality, he had anisocoria, which causes one pupil to be larger than the other). Leonardo Da Pinchy, Icy Hot, Lobstery McLobsterface, Two-Face, and Icy Hot were among the other recommendations.

Different sexual characteristics are expressed by the two halves of a body when there is bilateral gynandromorphism. Although uncommon, this ailment has been observed in numerous species, ranging from insects like stick insects and nocturnal bees to birds like northern cardinal birds and rose-breasted grosbeaks.

Combinations of sex chromosomes determine biological sex. Males have an X and a Y chromosome, for instance, while females have two X chromosomes, though this isn't the full range of combinations in humans and certain other species. (For the sake of simplicity, we'll stick to X and Y in this explanation; however, the combination of Z and W chromosomes determines sex in other animals, such as insects and birds).

Bilateral gynandromorphism's mechanisms are thought to have their origins in very early developmental stages, according to scientists. A male XY cell will go through mitosis and duplicate its chromosomes to become XXYY before dividing into two XY cells as the organism grows. However, this process doesn't proceed as expected in gynandromorphs. The cell divides inadvertently into an X cell and an XYY cell rather than two XY cells. A sizable fraction of the cells may be both X and XYY if this error happens in the earliest stages of development.

Bowie is undoubtedly leading the best possible life. Jacob and the group kept the lobsters in a cage at the harbor for the time being after determining not to put them back in the water. Unexpected rain caused the bay to become diluted with freshwater, which is bad news for an organism accustomed to seawater.

Luckily, Bowie received a tank from the Oceanarium and Education Centre in Bar Harbour, and Jacob received assistance in setting it up. The lobster is happily gorging on herring and scuttling around their shiny new tank, giving the impression that they have settled in fairly well.

Researchers discovered a remarkably unusual bee in the neotropical forests of Panama: the left side of the bee's body is male, and the right side is female.

Bilateral gynandromorphs are specimens in which the two halves of the body seem to express distinct sexual characteristics. This is the first record of the incredibly rare condition in this species of nocturnal bee, though it has been noted in many other animal species as well, including at least 140 species of bees.

The specimen's gynandromorphism is most striking in its obvious form; its left side, the male side, has a long antenna, a smoother mandible, and a skinny hind leg, while its right side, the female side, has a short antenna, a spikey mandible, and a chunky hind leg. Erin Krichilsky, a student at Cornell University and lead author of the study, said in a statement that "finding the M. amoena felt like striking gold or winning the Darwinian lottery."

The circadian rhythm, an internal clock that bees use to regulate their foraging schedules, was also examined by the researchers to learn more about the potential behavioral effects of gynandromorphism. This showed that, in contrast to both male and female bees, the gynandromorph's foraging activity began earlier in the day, and that its busiest times coincided closely with female behavior. This may indicate that this species' foraging habits are more strongly linked to the right hemisphere of the brain.

I'm sure you're wondering, "Why are some animals gynandromorphic?" Scientists typically believe that the illness is caused by two primary mechanisms.

Combinations of sex chromosomes determine biological sex. For instance, females in humans and some other species have two X chromosomes, whereas males have an X and a Y chromosome. (For simplicity, we'll stick to X and Y in this explanation; however, in insects, birds, and certain other species, sex is determined by the combination of Z and W chromosomes).

To bind the mother's egg, which always contains an X chromosome, it is determined whether the "successful" sperm carries a Y or an X chromosome. A rare type of egg with two nuclei is unintentionally entered by two sperm, leading to the embryo carrying both XY and XX cells. This is one of the mechanisms that produces a gynandromorph.

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Francis Dami

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