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Pink grasshopper spotted in Belfast

Published 02/07/2015

Pink grasshopper in Belfast. Photograph by Suzanne Belshaw
Pink grasshopper in Belfast. Photograph by Suzanne Belshaw

A rare pink grasshopper that would look more at home in the rainforest has been found in Belfast.

The female meadow grasshopper was found in Slievenacloy Nature Reserve in the Belfast Hills. It was photographed by volunteer Suzanne Belshaw.

Ulster Wildlife spokesperson Kelly Muldoon said: "It was discovered by volunteers who were helping us and Belfast Hills Partnership carry out a mini bioblitz of the nature reserve.

"The pink is a colour variation and is quite unusual. Grasshoppers are usually green or brown to help to keep them hidden in their grassy habitat. 

"It's thought that the pink colouration may have been caused by a genetic mutation. In some cases the pigments are reduced, and in others there is an excess of pigment.  Here the red pigment is excessive causing the colour.

On Wednesday one of the pink grasshoppers was spotted crawling through the brambles in inner-city Salford, Greater Manchester. A photograph of the insect quickly spread on social media.

The picture was taken by independent film maker Dr Luke Blazejewski. He found it whilst exploring a brownfield site in Salford and said he was "amazed" by the sighting.

Dr Blazejewski said: "All around me I could hear the distinctive buzzing of grasshoppers, when suddenly a flash of pink shot out in front of me, and I couldn't believe my eyes."

A pink female meadow grasshopper nymph photographed by Dr Luke Blazejewski in a brownfield site in Salford, Greater Manchester (Dr Luke Blazejewski/PA)
A pink female meadow grasshopper nymph photographed by Dr Luke Blazejewski in a brownfield site in Salford, Greater Manchester (Dr Luke Blazejewski/PA)
An unusual pink grasshopper, similar to this one, was spotted in Manchetser (East Devon District Council/PA)

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