Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Pink grasshopper update

Back on March 12, I reported on a peculiar pink grasshopper found by Kristen Lauer. See that post HERE. From Kristen's photos, it appeared that the animal was a first stage instar; the earliest phase of growth. Grasshoppers, depending upon the species, apparently have between four and six instars, or growth stages. Their development is a simple metamorphosis - the young insects look essentially just like the adults, only smaller, and the wings are not fully developed. With each molt, the young grasshopper becomes larger and more developed.

Anyway, I encouraged Kristen to keep the animal and stoke its appetite with iceberg lettuce or other tasty fare. She's done an admirable job of raising the little pink hopper, and sent along the following photos today.

Photo: Kristen Lauer

As we can see, the insect has retained its pinkness following its first molt in captivity. It is now a bit bigger, wings are more fully developed, and it may even be a shade pinker.

My original post stimulated a comment from Carl Strang of the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County (Illinois). I think Carl may have nailed the identification; his comment follows:

"The ridge through the grasshopper’s eye reminds me of another group, the band-winged grasshoppers. The earliest singing insect in northeast Illinois, the greenstriped grasshopper (Chortophaga viridifascitata) overwinters as nymphs and is displaying by late April or early May".


Carl Strang
Office of Education - Mayslake
Forest Preserve District of DuPage County

Photo: Kristen Lauer

With luck, all will go well for the little beast in captivity, and it'll continue through its various instars and eventually reach adulthood. It'll be interesting to see its shade of pinkness when fully developed.

Thanks to Kristen for working with the animal, and providing this update.



Catbird said...

What a beautiful creature!

flux biota. said...

amazing, I love it.

you should make a post a tell your readers how to build a nice terrarium for up close and personal viewing. I would dig it.

zippiknits said...

It's the first one of that color I've ever seen, and we get a lot of them out here in the waste fields and bushy hills. Thanks for the new pictures!