A Pink Grasshopper


(Photo: Tim Parkinson)

It's a lovely shade of pink, which is not what you might expect from a grasshopper. Though rare, pink grasshoppers are occasionally spotted. Tim Parkinson found this one in Norfolk, UK.

What causes pink grasshoppers? Victoria Hillman, a wildlife biologist and photographer, explained a year ago in National Geographic. It's the result of a genetic mutation similar to albinism:

It is called erythrism an unusual and little-understood genetic mutation caused by a recessive gene similar to that which affects albino animals. This mutation results in one of two things happening or even a combination of the two; a reduce or even absence of the normal pigment and/or the excessive production of other pigments, in this case red which results in pink morphs. Although it was first discovered in 1887 in a katydid species, it is extremely rare to see these pink morphs so you can imagine our delight at finding so many in one area and they probably all have the same parents both carrying the recessive gene. All the individuals we found were nymphs and a couple of things can now happen if they make it to adulthood, they can lose the pink colouring altogether, they may stay pink or even be a variation between the two! We will be checking back on these individuals throughout the coming weeks and months to see what happens.

-via Kotaku


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