Mutant Butterflies Emerge Due to Radiation in Japan
Research scientists have noticed severe mutations in Pale Grass Blue butterflies collected in the Fukushima prefecture of Japan. After collecting and breeding the butterflies, the scientists also noted that some genetic mutations were passed on to the next generation of butterflies.
The comparison of Pale Grass Blue butterflies from different regions revealed that the radiation from the earthquake and tsunami in March of 2011 that caused nuclear reactors to meltdown is affecting the wildlife.
Some of the effects include proportionately smaller wings and development of eyes differently than the same species of butterflies not impacted by the radiation. “These observations of mutations and morphological abnormalities can only be explained as having resulted from exposure to radioactive contaminants,” a University of South Carolina biologist told the BBC.
Other animals are being affected by the radiation too. Bluefin tuna caught in San Diego, California measured levels of radioactive materials ten times higher than in previous years, but still met government regulations for levels of radiation.