In the Pink

by Carl Strang

One day last week as I walked the trail that passes the eastern parking lot at Mayslake Forest Preserve, I saw a large grasshopper posed like a female laying eggs. It wasn’t a Carolina grasshopper, and though it was the size and shape of a differential grasshopper the color was off, so I took photos that I hoped would result in an addition to the preserve species list. If it was indeed laying eggs, I didn’t want to collect it.

The subject of today’s story

When I later looked at the photos, I had to marvel. The size and shape, and the distinctive herringbone pattern on the legs, were a match for the differential grasshopper. Only one thing was off: the insect was pink instead of olive green.

A normal-colored differential grasshopper

The color would have stood out more, and I might have made the determination on the spot, if the day had not been so cloudy. I don’t know how rare pink color morphs of grasshoppers are. They turn up occasionally in the false katydids, though I have not encountered one yet. I’m glad I left it. I’ll be interested in seeing if I encounter more pink differential grasshoppers in that part of the preserve in future seasons.

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