Did you know grasshoppers can be bright pink? Neither did we—until this past weekend when an eye-catching story was published by an NBC affiliate in Texas. Apparently, a three-year-old discovered a bubble-gum pink grasshopper while exploring his garden in Austin, which prompted his mother to snap a photo of the pink grasshopper and put it online.
Now you might be asking: why is the grasshopper pink? According to National Geographic Explorer Victoria Hillman, it’s the result of a condition known as erythrism, whereby a recessive gene similar to those affecting albino animals is passed on. Instead of a complete loss of pigmentation, erythrism sees a complete replacement of normal pigment with an “exceptional prevalence” of red pigmentation.
Pink grasshoppers do exist, but you hardly see them because their color makes them easy to spot for predators, thus making it extremely hard to make it to adulthood. Anyway, we’re happy to have seen one now!