Monday, January 27, 2014

Pink Grasshopper

Hello again, My Darlings.  

Yesterday my friend, Terri, and I were enjoying a healthy walk.  Bored of our usual walking pattern,  we struck out across a nearby field.  Terri spotted this cool insect.  I had only my older model smart phone to use as a camera, but I was grateful for it.  We had no idea what we were looking at:   a  4 cm long,  four- legged,  pink critter.   If it were a grasshopper, then it would need two more legs! 

I posted the picture to “ID Request” on   The kind, smart folks at BugGuide would know what this was.  Sure enough,  I got an answer:  Chortophaga viridifasciata,  a Green-striped Grasshopper.  This one is a nymph, probably over-wintering in the dry grass.  Indeed, it is missing the two powerful back legs, and it’s an unusual color.   Green-striped Grasshoppers are usually green or brown.  This fellow demonstrates erythrism (“erythro-“ is a combining form that means “red”) with its remarkable, vibrant coloring.  Given its striking color and lack of hopping legs, I imagine this pink grasshopper will soon be a good meal for a hungry bird.
Erythrism in Chortophaga viridifasciata,  a Green-striped Grasshopper Nymph
Erythrism in Chortophaga viridifasciata,  a Green-striped Grasshopper Nymph