Colorful find: A pink katydid
Posted: Monday, September 6, 2010 8:02 pm
ALLENTOWN, Pa. (AP) — It’s the prettiest bug in town — bubblegum pink, vanishingly rare and was likely headed for an early demise in a bird’s beak.
That is until Kay Hrycko stumbled upon the shockingly pink katydid in the yard of her Springfield Township home recently.
“We were walking around looking at the logs and happened to see this katydid on one of the rocks,” Hrycko said. “It was real obvious. We all said ‘Pink!”’
Katydids typically are green to blend in with foliage, but occasionally one will have a mutation that renders it pink. While pleasing to the eye, the color makes it stand out like a daily special on a restaurant menu for predators.
“That will mark it as dinner for birds,” said Chuck Holliday, a Lafayette College biology professor with expertise in insects.
After discovering the colorful critter, Hrycko collected it in a yogurt container and is keeping it safe inside. She said her 13-year-old son, Cody, hopes to take it to school for his science class.
The major difference between pink katydids and their more common green counterparts apparently is the lack of dark pigment called melanin, the same pigment that makes a panther black.
The coloration was first noted in scientific literature in 1878. The only known genetic study was published in 1916.
The U.S. name “katydid” comes from the male’s loud mating call, produced by rubbing its forewings together — groups of three and four evenly spaced noises that people imitated as “Katy did. Katy didn’t. Katy didn’t. Katy did.”
Pink katydids have been found, albeit rarely, from Pennsylvania to Michigan to Louisiana.
Information from: The Morning Call, http://www.mcall.com
Published in The Messenger 9.6.10