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Page last updated at 17:27 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 18:27 UK
Pink grasshoppers spotted in park
Pink grasshopper
Pink grasshoppers use their colour to hide in plant life.

The unusual sight of pink grasshoppers can be seen amongst the undergrowth at a nature reserve in Halton.

In recent weeks a cloud of grasshoppers appeared on the rocks at Pickerings Pasture nature reserve in Halton.

Young common meadow grasshoppers are often pink, but are rarely spotted as they use the colour to hide amongst the grass and plant life.

The reserve on the banks of the River Mersey is the ideal place for grasshoppers to flourish.

"It is the vegetation that gives good cover for any insect, particularly grasshoppers," says the reserve's Ranger Rob Smith.

"It's also south facing so it warms up a lot quicker than some of the other surrounding areas."

Grasshoppers have large hind legs which they use to hop, but also rub together to communicate, producing the distinctive clicking noise.

Ranger Rob Smith
Ranger Rob Smith works at the Pickerings Pasture site

Rob Smith says while the reserve has many grasshoppers, pink ones are particularly rare, "We do have quite a number of grasshoppers on site and they are found primarily along the waterfront, and that's because the embankment there is covered in vegetation.

"The pink is the juvenile state of the grasshopper.

"They remain pink while they're young, partly a camouflage, but also because they're deep in the vegetation.

"They're not going to be seen that easily.

"As they reach maturity they change to a green and brown colour.

Young grasshoppers are often pink

"They have young throughout the summer season so they can be pink up until late summer or early autumn before they go in to the adult stage.

"There are grasshoppers all the way along here; it's just a case of stopping and listening for a while."

Pink grasshopper
Young pink grasshoppers will turn green and brown when fully grown

"There's a combination of rocks and vegetation, and that's where grasshoppers can hop out of the vegetation on to nice warm rocks and hop back in to the vegetation if there's any threats."

Rob says the best time for seeing the pink grasshoppers is later in the day, but anyone wishing to see them does only have a few weeks left, "Any time from midday onwards when it gets warm.

"The best thing to do is to stand and listen and then gently move towards the sound.

"Once winter comes, they go back in to the deep grass, partly underground and hibernate for the winter."




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