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"I feel very fortunate to have it eat my flowers..."
November 30, 2008 3:50 AM   Subscribe

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present the Fluorescent Pink Katydid

"Every year in Pennsylvania mountains a few people are fortunate enough to see an amazing thing, a normally green katydid that is brilliant pink, eyes, antennae, legs, everything. This unusual insects is actually a rare variety of one of our common katydids that are normally green all over. The bright pink condition is beautiful and startling to behold, and is caused by a genetically determined condition called erythrism. The pink katydids act just like green ones, and if we are lucky, they will continue to prosper as a special Pennsylvania oddity that most of us will never see alive!"
posted by chuckdarwin (36 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was expecting this to be another one of those "...so we injected it with genes from a jellyfish" stories, but damn that's fantastic.
posted by mandal at 3:58 AM on November 30, 2008 [4 favorites]


Damn. Just... damn!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:59 AM on November 30, 2008


Flickr search results for "pink katydid"
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:02 AM on November 30, 2008


Oooh... the colors of insects! There are pink insects and blue insects and red insects and yellow insects and orange insects and...

It's great that nature doesn't use up its color palette on just rainbows and flowers.
posted by twoleftfeet at 4:52 AM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Things like this remind me how glad I am that I live in a place with no things like this. Pretty colour or no, that's a big, freaky insect.
posted by jack_mo at 5:03 AM on November 30, 2008


Well that is rather special indeed.
posted by gomichild at 5:03 AM on November 30, 2008


Oh no you katy-didn't!






I am ashamed of myself.
posted by Panjandrum at 5:28 AM on November 30, 2008 [8 favorites]


I'll take two, please. They would make a wonderful pair of earrings the likes of which only myself or Andre 3000 would wear.
posted by thebellafonte at 5:33 AM on November 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


This is my happening and it freaks me out!
posted by kcds at 5:41 AM on November 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


Somehow, the fluorescence is unsettling. It looks so... unnatural. Probably because I associate fluorescent pink with the epitome of artifice and camp, but had someone told me that there was a pink bug floating around somewhere, I would've expected it to be a more subdued pink, like flamingo.

Very cool though.
posted by Phire at 6:11 AM on November 30, 2008 [2 favorites]


It's not easy being pink.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 6:40 AM on November 30, 2008


Oh random mutation, you're so random!
posted by Citizen Premier at 6:41 AM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


It's not random -- the katydids are really concerned about Breast Cancer Awareness.
posted by hermitosis at 7:02 AM on November 30, 2008 [6 favorites]


It looks like candy!


How does it taste?
posted by The Whelk at 9:22 AM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Eponymazing. Now all we need are slugs that color, with matching slime, for a natural highlighter...
posted by birdsquared at 9:34 AM on November 30, 2008


...meanwhile, at www.katydidsexchat.net...

Katydid #1: I want to lick your pink bits.
Katydid #2: That doesn't narrow it down at all.
Katydid #1: What.
posted by jimmythefish at 9:34 AM on November 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


It tastes just like candy too!

(Epileaving out the punchline)
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:43 AM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I have to wonder if these things are eaten by birds in a heartbeat, of if the birds see them and make the same assumptions that I make when I see an "energy drink" that promises to contain taurine, ginseng and guarana? Insert term paper on convergent evolution here.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:44 AM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Fluorescent? As in emits light after absorbing photons of a shorter wavelength? Sure, the bug is an unnaturally bright pink, but I didn't see anything about these guys glowing under a UV lamp or anything. Sloppy use of language, I think.

/pedantic
posted by Quietgal at 9:47 AM on November 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


Sloppy use of language, I think.

Bugs can't read.
posted by rokusan at 10:24 AM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I was hoping one of the links would say someone looked whether or not it really was fluorescent, but I didn't notice any such.

The only arthropod I can think of off the top of my head which is genuinely fluorescent is the scorpion.

The same old Scientific American article which mentioned the fluorescence of the scorpion claimed it had no predators (as I recall), but that drew a convincing letter from someone in the southwest claiming to have seen many thousands of scorpion exoskeletons in the debris associated with a colony of bats in an old water tower.

I haven't been able to see how being fluorescent would help scorpions evade bats, but surely it must be adaptive somehow.
posted by jamjam at 10:34 AM on November 30, 2008


Very cool. They look like they fell into a vat of pink lemonade.
posted by amyms at 10:58 AM on November 30, 2008


My second post to MetaFilter was about katydids (and other singing insects). This post prompted me to go back and check, and I was pleased to discover that all the links are still working:

Katydid sing like a symphony.

Didn't know about the pink ones, though. Thanks, chuckdarwin!
posted by trip and a half at 11:05 AM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Kid Charlemagne, the author of the article says the bug he caught refused to eat greens, and the first thing it would eat in the terrarium were flowers that had the same pink color. There may be some camouflage going on.

jamjam: I have seen plenty of videos of meerkat (sp?) eating scorpions, and a ferret i used to own would eat them whenever she found one.
posted by dirty lies at 11:05 AM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


jamjam, I followed your link to a page about tarantulas and it listed scorpions as one of their prey. Yeek!
posted by hermitosis at 11:12 AM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I saw a beetle once that was the color of peanut butter with chocolate chips. Hooray for bugs!
posted by moonmilk at 11:22 AM on November 30, 2008


I am assuming this creature was ThePinkSuperhero in another life?

Either that or possibly this is her "spirit insect"... I just can't believe the similarity in color is a coincidence.

Pink katydids. They are just too. cute. for. words. Nature is awesome!
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:44 AM on November 30, 2008


Bugs can't read.

are you sure about that?
posted by CitizenD at 12:19 PM on November 30, 2008


I fear for the pink katydid. ThePinkSupervillain....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 12:37 PM on November 30, 2008 [3 favorites]


The same old Scientific American article which mentioned the fluorescence of the scorpion claimed it had no predators...

Rule 35: if it exists someone eats it.
posted by mandal at 1:36 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


I haven't been able to see how being fluorescent would help scorpions evade bats, but surely it must be adaptive somehow.

I was about to snarkily respond that this was a fallacy and leave it at that, but then I got curious and google scholared it. I came across a Masters thesis (Wankhede, 2004) on the subject that had a chapter reviewing the literature on the possible function of fluorescence in scorpions. It has been proposed as a way for scorpions to communicate but their eyes cant see it; as a prey attractor but that just seems stupid and is untested; and finally as a sunblock left over from when scorpions were actually diurnal. The chapter concludes by saying it may just be a useless byproduct of something. Yeah, that's what I would have guessed but it was a nice learning experience to actually look it up.

And yes, those Katydids are fucking awesome and are blowing my mind. Can we just call them day-glow pink to avoid the whole fluorescent argument?
posted by DanielDManiel at 4:48 PM on November 30, 2008 [1 favorite]


Our back yards teem with untold wonders. Thanks for posting this.
posted by roger ackroyd at 5:08 PM on November 30, 2008


Kronos_to_Earth: That is the scariest pink thing I've seen thus far.
posted by tehloki at 1:16 AM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


Can I use a link twice...?

tehloki, Are you sitting down? There's some pinkness that might be even a little scarier. The trilobite beetle....
posted by Kronos_to_Earth at 1:59 AM on December 1, 2008


I'm picturing a great photo opportunity: I want to get about a hundred or so normal green katydids and get them all covering some flat surface, then I want to stick the pink one in there and take a slightly over-saturated shot.

It would look really neat in a "what the fuck is that?" kind of way.
posted by quin at 3:03 PM on December 1, 2008


Kronos_to_Earth: that thing doesn't look too pink, but it's certainly scary. I still think the spider wins. Unlike the slow, clumsy trilobite beetle, it looks like it could hurt you, and WANTS to very badly.
posted by tehloki at 8:11 PM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]


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