(WTNH) — Among a field of green, some might see pink. State researchers confirm that traditionally green insects, like a cricket or grasshopper, can be pink, like what one person found outside in Guilford.
News 8 viewer Melissa Greenwood found what she said to be a ‘beautiful rare pink grasshopper’ in North Guilford this week and sent it to our Report-It inbox, and it also caught our eye.
We reached out to the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station (CAES) in New Haven to learn more about this bug and why it appeared to be pink.
This type of insect is in fact a katydid, according to a CAES associate scientist. It’s otherwise known as a bush cricket. And, yes, the pink pigment is a real thing.
“It’s the result of a genetic mutation called Erythrism,” said Dr. Gale Ridge at CAES. It’s where recessive genes alter pigment levels, similar to what happens in albinism.
However, CAES pointed News 8 to a 2013 blog by Scientific American, which mentioned research indicating green to likely be the recessive color. The research also stated that it is more commonplace to see green katydids due to how well it camouflages in its environment.
As explained in the blog, the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2008, used wild pink oblong-winged katydids to hatch 35 eggs. They found that four of them born were green, while the rest were born pink.
Yellow and orange katydids, also rare colors, were shown to be dominant to green during the breeding experiments.
The researchers in Louisiana mentioned that green is more commonly seen in the wild due to directional selection, in which an alternate gene “has greater fitness than the other.” The leaf-like body and green hue camouflage katydids more effectively.
In February 2020, a Texas family found a pink grasshopper in their garden, and National Geographic told KXAN at the time that most pink grasshoppers do not make it to adulthood since predators can see them easier.
Have you seen any pink grasshoppers or crickets around or any other interesting creatures? Send us a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org.