Pink Grasshoppers

Have you ever seen a pink grasshopper? If you have, consider yourself lucky – the chance of anyone seeing one in their lifetime is only about 1%.

Photo Credit – Frank Morgenstern

Pink grasshoppers are not a unique species. Instead, they are ordinary grasshoppers with a condition called erythrism (new word!). Erythrism is a genetic mutation that causes an over-production of red pigmentation and an under-production of black and brown. These rare grasshoppers can range in color from slightly pink to hot pink. As they age they may retain the color, or it may lighten or disappear altogether.

What’s remarkable is that if you see one, it that the grasshopper has survived to adulthood. Given the coloration, they are more easily visible to predators and less able to hide in the green grasses in the spring. However, their chances of survival increase as natural grasses change color during the season, allowing the pink grasshoppers to blend in better.

Grasshoppers are diurnal (as opposed to their nocturnal cricket counterparts) so go have a look!