The Fukushima Disaster Produced Mutant Irradiated Butterflies

Radiation turns your dreams to nightmares, via Mother Jones:

Researchers collected butterflies immediately following the nuclear meltdown and six months later, both from the surrounding areas of Fukushima and from various other localities in Japan. As compared with the butterflies collected from elsewhere, Fukushima butterflies showed some abnormally-developed legs, dented eyes, deformed wing shapes, and changes to the color and spot patterns of their wings, with an overall abnormality rate of around 12 percent.

While these levels of mutations were still relatively mild, more alarming were the same data on butterflies collected six months later, in September of last year. The overall rate of similar mutations among these butterflies was around 28 percent, while this number skyrocketed to around 52 percent in the second generation produced from the collected butterflies.

The study renews worries that humans, too, might be affected by the released radiation in the Fukushima area, but the researchers insist that this is not an easy line to draw. “Humans are totally different from butterflies and they should be far more resistant,” the head scientist on the study, Joji M. Otaki, told The Japan Times.

23 Comments on "The Fukushima Disaster Produced Mutant Irradiated Butterflies"

  1. Ronniedobbs | Aug 17, 2012 at 10:51 am |



  3. lilbear68 | Aug 18, 2012 at 9:23 am |

    just the beginning of the effects comming

  4. butterflies might be vulnerable to radiation; researchers must find a way out to handle these dangerous butterflies.

  5. looks like the dystopian world of fallout 3 isn’t too far off in the future…

  6. This article blows the issue slightly out of proportion- animals like caterpillars, which undergo extreme changes in morphology, are more susceptible to the effects of radiation.  Children and young animals are more susceptible because their cells are reproducing at a higher rate than those in older animals, and so any sort of genetic damage will be more visible and less likely to be repaired by the body.  I’m not saying that a national disaster didn’t occur, but people are focusing too much on the radiation aspect of it because it captures the public’s attention and makes for a good story.

    • smooth_operator | Sep 23, 2012 at 12:51 am |

       So which part besides the radiation aspect should people be focusing on? Japanese anime?

    • smooth_operator | Sep 23, 2012 at 12:51 am |

       So which part besides the radiation aspect should people be focusing on? Japanese anime?

  7. [Citation Needed], Also, that’s a Moth.

    • Anonnymouse | Aug 26, 2012 at 5:12 pm |

      Is it? Look at the feelers. Moths have “furry” feelers. It might be that it is a butterfly which now looks like a moth due to the damage.

    • Are you the expert on moths and butterflies? Are you from japan? Do you study Japanese insects and wildlife? I’m far from an expert, but that looks like either a moth or a butterfly! Does it matter, its been exposed to radiation and it’s irregular formation is the problem!

    • Mastergyre | Sep 29, 2012 at 8:20 pm |

      No, it’s a butterfly.  Note the antennae.  The difference in wing formation, coloration, and abdomen/leg size are essentially what the article is about.  It’s a screwed up butterfly, not a moth.

    • An0xymoron | Feb 3, 2014 at 2:31 am |

      Hypothesis: Mutant Butterfly?

  8. Their evolutionary rates must be fantastic !  With all of those genetic variations taking place the odds that something beneficial will occur are extremely high and fast !

  9. iain carstairs | Aug 28, 2012 at 1:58 pm |

    Oh, that’s alright then!  But as I nuderstand it, there’s not much difference in the DNA mechanics; radiation doesn’t bounce off the skin, it travels right through you 

  10. Bud Mcgenty | Sep 1, 2012 at 5:30 am |

    The Fukushima Disaster Produced Mutant Irradiated Butterflies

    But that is a picture of a MOTH…

  11. No that is a butterfly. Moths have furry feelers butterflies have feelers like that. It true and you don’t have to take my word for it. 

    The internet. Use it. 

    • So I did what you said (because I was pretty sure your distinction of moths as having furry feelers was false), and it turns out, butterflies generally have club-shaped antennae, while moths’ antennae are varied, not consistent (actually, moths, in general, are varied, with the only real distinction being that they are not butterflies).

      So yeah, you may be right that it is, in fact, a butterfly, but the reason you stated was an absolute falsehood.  In other words, take your own advice, you hypocrite.

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