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Pretty in pink!
By: Lauren, Assistant Manager of Animal Collections at the Insectarium
We have refurbished what used to be our tox mosquito exhibit to now house one of our more popular New Orleans native insects – katydids. Most of you probably know the normal green (but still very cute) katydids that are found commonly in and around this area but we have added a special twist to this exhibit. Included with the green katydids are some special colored pink ones.
Katydids are normally green but at times – when different genes occur in a special manner – they can be pink or yellow/orange. The occurrence of the pink coloration is called erythrism and, like albinism, is due to recessive genes. I haven’t found a name for the yellow occurrence and have only, personally, seen about three or four individuals with that coloration. Both the pink and the yellow are very rare to find in the wild because their green coloration and leaf shape is a type of camouflage and one of their main defenses against predation.
Last summer we were lucky enough to get several donations of pink katydids and over the winter we put the males and females together in hopes of starting a breeding colony. After several months of hard work our breeding facility was able to call the endeavor a success with the hatching of little pink katydids. Now those pink babies have grown up into adults that are laying eggs for future generations and they are doing so well that some have even taken up residence for public viewing at the Insectarium proper.
So if you ever wondered what it would look like if a katydid decided to look more like a flower and less like a leaf – please come by and visit ours at the Insectarium!
"The very pink of perfection"
~ Oliver Goldsmith~