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Academic Intercourse

Eavesdropping on serious scientific conversation

When scientists discuss matters related to genitalia or the process of procreation, they do this, of course, in a serious and dignified manner. Witness this conversation by a group of zoologists, overheard in the tearoom of our university during a break between lectures. —>—>

Puzzling Animal Mosaics

Puzzling Animal Mosaics

Puzzling Animal Mosaics– and 50/50 male/female gynanders

When I was in Shillong (North-East India) during my sabbatical year, the Director of the local Entomological Museum showed me some of his “treasures” that are normally not seen by the public. He had a golfball-sized elephant dung beetle, pitchblack cicadas, ghostly moths and several hitherto undescribed species of butterflies in his collection. In one of the butterflies, males and females looked very different from each other and the uninitiated would easily have assigned the shorter-winged, somewhat brownish female individual to quite a different group from its swallowtail-like, colourful male. But what I found most fascinating was a specimen of a “halfside gynander” – a term that describes an animal in which one body half (either the left or the right side) is male and the other is female. —>—>