Sunday, June 19, 2005

Bilateral gynandromorph Blue Crab

Bilateral gynandromorph Blue Crab
"Researchers at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science are holding an extremely rare type of crab that was pulled from the Chesapeake Bay last month by watermen David Johnson and Robert Watson of Deltaville.

The crab, called a "bilateral gynandromorph," is split right down the middle - its right half female and its left half male. It has one "male" claw that is entirely blue, and one "female" claw that is tipped with red. Its apron is rounded on the right and sharply pointed on the left. Its reproductive organs are similarly divided.

Neither the watermen nor VIMS crab expert Rom Lipcius have ever seen a crab like this one, and all have spent more than 25 years on the water.

More than just a curiosity, the crab's genetic condition could help researchers better understand sexual development and breeding behavior in blue crabs, phenomena that are currently poorly understood."

Links: "Rare crab may hold genetic secrets." Virginia Institute of Marine Science news & Media, 15 June 2005.

"Part Male, Part Female, Fully Mysterious." By David A. Fahrenthold. Washington Post, 16 June 2005.

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