Sunday, July 26, 2009

Pinky goes Global

You may remember the bizarre flaming pink katydid that I blogged about recently. Well, I hope this chirper doesn't get too big for her britches, given all of the attention she's getting. The katydid just returned from the Midwest Native Plant Conference in Dayton, where she was fawned over by perhaps 200 people over the weekend.

Tomorrow, she's going to be interviewed and filmed for a TV program, and possibly by a local TV station. Wil Hershberger, co-author along with Lang Elliot of the fantastic book The Songs of Insects, will be visiting my office to photograph "Pinky", as she's come to be known.

And last Friday, the Columbus Dispatch newspaper plastered a big bright photo of Pinky across the front page of the Metro section, accompanied by a wonderful article written by Erin Dostal. The pink katydid has turned out to be a great ambassador for nature, and is undoubtedly stimulating lots of people to think about the wonders of the natural world. I would say that, by the time her career in the limelight ends, over 200,000 people may have been exposed to the brilliant little wunderdid.

Read on for Erin's Dispatch article, and you may also find some of the comments about the katydid article that were posted to the Dispatch's website interesting. You can see them HERE.

It's no dye job
Shocking pink
Eye-catching katydid is 1-in-500 discovery for nature enthusiast
Friday, July 24, 2009 3:12 AM
By Erin Dostal


She's pink, personable and a smash-hit summer singer. She's Pinky the katydid.

"I was floored! I couldn't believe it!" said Jim McCormac of the Ohio Division of Wildlife. "This is pink as pink can be."

Jan Kennedy of Mansfield found the pink katydid while walking through the Killdeer Plains Wildlife Area in Wyandot County on Sunday.

"It was like finding a new toy," said Kennedy, who chose the Pinky name. "To me, it's a total treasure hunt."

Kennedy and friend Cheryl Harner of Crestline were participating in an Ohio Certified Volunteer Naturalists workshop. The women aren't experts, but they are nature enthusiasts.

"It's kind of like finding a pink elephant," Harner said. "Something like this fills even the most jaded person with a sense of wonder."

Harner is keeping the katydid in a terrarium. It will be returned to the wild on a date yet to be picked.

McCormac, who was also at the workshop, said photos of Pinky have "gone viral" since he posted them on his blog and his Facebook page.

Bubblegum-pink katydids are rare: one in about 500.

Katydids also come in blue, yellow and -- most commonly -- green, said Wil Hershberger, a West Virginia nature photographer and the author of The Songs of Insects.

The green ones mimic leaves, but the pink ones stand out and make easy pickings for predators, Hershberger said. "Birds would take that out in a hurry."

The katydid gets its name from its song, said Dave Horn, a retired professor of entomology at Ohio State University. It sounds as if it's saying "katy-did-katy-did-katy-did."

The pink color is brilliant, Horn noted. "You know the girls in Grease? The pink ladies? The girl who dyes her hair? It's like that."

The color could allow the bug to hide in flowers, Horn said.

McCormac, an avian-education specialist, said he heard that the color might be so shocking to birds that they won't eat it.

He'll take Pinky to the Midwest Native Plant Conference at the Hope Hotel and Conference Center in Dayton on Saturday.

Hershberger sees the bug as an opportunity to showcase the importance of conservation. As habitats disappear, so do cute, pink katydids.

The Pinkster. Living Large.


Ecesis Factor said...

how exciting!

Heather said...

That's SO awesome! Go Pinky!