Biologist on Mutated Butterflies: Study is overwhelming in its implications for humans — Japan Researcher: Insects were believed to be very resistant to radiation — Irregularly developed eyes, malformed antennae, much smaller wings (PHOTO)
Published: August 13th, 2012 at 3:46 pm ET
Author: Nick Crumpton
Date: August 13, 2012
Exposure to radioactive material released into the environment have caused mutations in butterflies found in Japan, a study suggests.
Scientists found an increase in leg, antennae and wing shape mutations among butterflies collected following the 2011 Fukushima accident.The link between the mutations and the radioactive material was shown by laboratory experiments, they report. [...] the team found that areas with greater amounts of radiation in the environment were home to butterflies with much smaller wings and irregularly developed eyes. [...] Six months later, they again collected adults from the 10 sites and found that butterflies from the Fukushima area showed a mutation rate more than double that of those found sooner after the accident. [...] the findings from their new research show that the radionuclides released from the accident were still affecting the development of the animals, even after the residual radiation in the environment had decayed. [...]
Lead researcher Joji Otaki from the University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa
See also: Comparison image shows severe mutation of Japan butterfly's stump-like wings (PHOTO) -- Reporter: "Scary" that humans could be affected by mutations too