Scientists have discovered a half male, half female bee.
This condition is known as gynandromorphism.
On its left side, the bee is male. It has a small, dainty mandible, a long antenna, and a thin, delicate hind leg with fewer bristles.
The right side has female characteristics – a shorter antenna, a pronounced, toothed mandible, and a thick, hairy hind leg..It’s a little known fact that – gynandromorphs have been found in at least 140 bee species, as well as butterflies, birds and crustaceans.
In bees, it’s usually only seen after the insects are already dead..
In this case, researchers led by Erin Krichilsky of Cornell University found the bee living in the forest of Barro Colorado Island in Panama.
This was a stroke of luck – because studying gynandromorphic bees that are still alive could help us learn a lot about these fascinating insects.