A mutant grasshopper with an unusual pink body was found at a home in Austin, Texas.
The animal was accidentally discovered by a three-year-old boy while walking in the garden. The baby’s mother, Allison Barger, said she was so surprised by her son’s discovery that she took a picture and sent it to local news station KXAN News.
According to wildlife explorer Victoria Hillman from National Geographic, the animal’s striking pink body is due to erythrism syndrome. Similar to albinism, this mutation is caused by a recessive gene, causing affected animals to produce excess red pigment and at the same time lack melanin. In humans, erythrism contributes to red hair color.
Erythrism syndrome in animals was first recorded in 1887 in a mouse. The phenomenon has also been observed in snakes, rays and skunks, but is more common in grasshoppers. In most cases, it is difficult for them to survive into adulthood because their striking colors make them difficult to camouflage and easily detected by predators.