Page last updated at 16:02 GMT, Wednesday, 9 September 2009 17:02 UK

Pink grasshopper found in marshes

Pink grasshopper (pic: Ben Lee)
The pink colouring is caused by a genetic mutation

An "unusual" pink grasshopper has been discovered during a wildlife event at a Devon nature reserve.

The insect was found by 11-year-old Daniel Tate at Seaton Marshes near Sidmouth.

He said he thought it was a flower until he saw it jump and then he realised it was a grasshopper.

The insect was later identified by wildlife officers as a young adult meadow grasshopper, which has been born pink through genetic mutation.

There is a chance it will live to reproduce and pass on its pink gene
James Chubb, East Devon Education Ranger

Daniel, who attended the "mini-beasts" event with his great grandfather, said: "I was looking for grasshoppers when I saw something pink.

"I thought it was a flower but I saw it moving, so I tried to catch it. It jumped and then I knew it was a grasshopper."

James Chubb, education ranger for East Devon District Council, said: "There are billions of meadow grasshoppers across England but this is the first pink one I have ever seen.

"It is caused by a genetic mutation in its reproductive cycle.

"It's almost a full adult, so if it has survived this long being bright pink there is a chance it will live to reproduce and pass on its pink gene."

He said grasshoppers of different colours were "unusual" but not unheard of.



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