A Pink Grasshopper! - Observation of the Week, 2/17/19

This erythristic Green-striped Grasshopper, seen in the United States by pufferchung, is our Observation of the Day!

In the grand tradition of Observations of the Week depicting organisms the observer was not looking for, Michelle’s (@pufferchung) target species of the day was not an insect but a plant. “Since I was looking for something that grows on the ground and it's ‘small and red’, that's how I found the ‘pink grasshopper’,” she tells me.

iNat user Todd Fitzgerald (@oddfitz) saw her observation and commented “almost positive it’s a Green-Striped Grasshopper with erythrism which exaggerates the natural red pigments,” and other users such as @sambiology and @brandonwoo (the latter is iNat’s top IDer of orthopterans) concurred and Todd reached out to me and let me know what a cool find this was.

Erythrism, as Todd notes, exaggerates the red pigments of an organism, and is actually a well-known but not entirely common trait in some orthopterans, particularly katydids. This species typically has green or brown coloration (see photos here) and ranges from Canada to Costa Rica.

“Photography gives me an appreciation for the world that we live in,” says Michelle (above).  “ [And] nature photography also takes me to outdoors more. I've been to many Texas state parks, natural/nature preserves and hiking trails. I want to see and experience things we sometimes take for granted. It provides me with some wonderful memories and photos that I can share with my instagram/facebook friends.”

Michelle tells me that someone on Facebook suggested to her the iNaturalist community could help identify her finds, so she started posting her nature photos on iNat as well. “Using iNaturalist gives me hope that some of the things people find aren't as rare as we think they are, they're just hidden and could lead to more nature conservation efforts in different places that they didn't think to look.”

- by Tony Iwane.


- Think that green coloration in katydids is a dominant trait? You might have to reconsider.

- @silversea_starsong’s Amazing Aberrants project is a great collection of unusually colored organisms.

Posted by tiwane tiwane, February 18, 2019 22:22

Comments

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Well done, Michelle @pufferchung ! Keep up all of those great observations!

Another inspiring and optimistic observation of the week. :)

Posted by sambiology 8 months ago (Flag)
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such a lovely color...and really lovely photo! Thanks for taking the time to photograph and share it with us :)

Posted by mira_l_b 8 months ago (Flag)
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Stunning! Great find! This inspires me to look for more insects (once they come back that is).

Posted by aaronr 8 months ago (Flag)
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Such a beautiful grasshopper! Well done @pufferchung!

Posted by rosabelmiro 8 months ago (Flag)
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Nice photo and find! What a pretty grasshopper. I did not know they came in this color when young.

Posted by walkingstick2 8 months ago (Flag)
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@sambiology @mira_l_b @aaronr @rosabelmiro @walkingstick2 @oddfitz I am so touched and grateful by all the wonderful comments and supports from all of you’ve given me. Thank you very much!

Posted by pufferchung 8 months ago (Flag)
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Wow! This is really a cool find! I'm a participant in the Amazing Aberrants Project so I do watch out for organisms like this but this one is at the top of the list! Nice find!
You may have noticed that my Profile Pic is an aberrant! :)
Have fun!

Posted by ken-potter 8 months ago (Flag)
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How cool! Nice find, @pufferchung! The article @tiwane linked about coloration from crossbreeding experiments is also fascinating. I love reading the OOTW!

Posted by carrieseltzer 8 months ago (Flag)
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@pufferchung Wonderful specimen. A great find. Thank you for sharing the image. It is a case study to learn more about insects.

Posted by geomanuel 8 months ago (Flag)
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Wow! Great observation!

Posted by connlindajo 8 months ago (Flag)
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Beautiful!

Posted by alicemaryherden 8 months ago (Flag)
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Just beautiful! Thanks :-)

Posted by pamdarrow 8 months ago (Flag)
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@pufferchung I have been noticing your beautiful postings and the artistic way that you portray them over the past few months. Thanks for sharing your posts .

Posted by caliche_kid 8 months ago (Flag)
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That is SO COOL!

Posted by sherylsr 8 months ago (Flag)
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Thank you for posting your photo of the "pink grasshopper."

Posted by martybq 8 months ago (Flag)
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Pretty awesome pic!!! What a lovely colour!

Posted by geetvish 8 months ago (Flag)
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Wow!

Posted by bluejay2007 8 months ago (Flag)
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Pink is not rare in Chortophaga viridifasciata, especially in nymphs such as this. It is thought to come from anthocyan in the flowers and red plant leaves that they are eating during development. The pink becomes splotchy as they grow and they typically end up the usual brown/green as adults.

Posted by sunwust 8 months ago (Flag)
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@koinpro Thank you so much for your wonderful comment. What an unique frog that you have on your profile picture! A rare find! Just want you to know I love hiking with my dog too. My blue heeler motivates me to go outside more.

Posted by pufferchung 8 months ago (Flag)
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@carrieseltzer That's very kind of you, thank you so much!

Posted by pufferchung 8 months ago (Flag)
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@geomanuel I am glad you like my pink grasshopper picture, many sincere thanks go to you for your wonderful comment.

Posted by pufferchung 8 months ago (Flag)
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@connlindajo That's very kind of you, please accept my best thanks!

Posted by pufferchung 8 months ago (Flag)
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@alicemaryherden Thank you so much!

Posted by pufferchung 8 months ago (Flag)
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@pamdarrow You're too kind, I'm speechless, thank you so much!

Posted by pufferchung 8 months ago (Flag)
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@caliche_kid Thank you so much for taking the time to help me ID many of my iNaturalist posts. It was so nice of you. Words are not enough to express gratitude but I hope you know how much I appreciate all of your help and encouragement. A thousand and one thanks!

Posted by pufferchung 8 months ago (Flag)
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@sherylsr @martybq @geetvish @bluejay2007 That's very kind of you, please accept my sincere thanks!

Posted by pufferchung 8 months ago (Flag)
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@sunwust Thank you so much for the information. I am not a scientist, so I have no idea it's more common than others thought.

Posted by pufferchung 8 months ago (Flag)
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@pufferchung

But does your dog scare away all the frogs ahead of you on the path (well almost all)?! And you can add butterflies, grasshoppers and anything else that moves to the list! Mine does! Ha Ha! I can live with it. :)

Love your photography!!! Apparently that PENTAX K-3 II is working out very well for you! Would you recommend it? I'm looking for a new camera that is good in low light.

Oh that Northern Green Frog in my profile pic is the only "blue morph" I've ever seen.

Enjoy!

KP

Posted by ken-potter 8 months ago (Flag)
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@koinpro I am glad you like my observation pictures, thank you very much! My dog doesn't scare away all the frogs and snakes on the path, because she is a blue "heeler", lol! She walks along next to me, usually on the left hand side. I love hiking and exploring the backcountry alone, she keeps me safe.

Posted by pufferchung 8 months ago (Flag)
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There is a lot to be said about being safe :)

Posted by ken-potter 8 months ago (Flag)

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