By Kim Reader
This rare PINK grasshopper has been spotted completely failing at its attempt to blend in.
The beautiful bug looks like it belongs in the depths of the rainforest but was actually snapped relaxing on the grassy reeds around a small lake in Ipswich, Suffolk.
And with its candyfloss-coloured body and legs and white eyes, the insect didn’t stand a chance of keeping a low profile in its luscious green surroundings – much to the delight of Richard Taylor.
Amateur photographer Richard was out for a stroll on his lunch break from his job at a manufacturing company on Wednesday (June 28) when the not-so-inconspicuous critter caught his eye.
Richard, of Ipswich, Suffolk, said: “I was just out for a walk with my camera when I saw it sat on the reeds around the little lake trying its best to blend in.
“People have asked me if it was hard to spot because they’re so rare but it’s not exactly difficult when something is bright pink.
“It definitely stands out against the green background.
“But as they are easy to spot for us they are also easy to spot for any prey who might be looking for a snack so they often don’t survive very long in the wild.
“It’s always great to find something a bit different when out looking for wildlife so when I came across this in the grass I was chuffed and delighted to be able to get a photo of it.”
The pink insect owes its colour to a rare genetic mutation called erythrism – similar to albinism – that causes the reduction of normal pigment and the increased production of red pigment.
While most people would be lucky to get a shot of just one of these bugs in their lifetimes, Richard actually spotted another rosy-hued hopper in the same spot last year and believed they might be related.
Both photos were taken on a Canon 7D Mk II using a Sigma 150mm macro lens.
After getting into photography when he bought his first smartphone in 2011, Richard decided to buy a proper digital SLR camera a couple of years later.
Richard specialises in macro wildlife photography as he loves being able to capture the small and amazing creatures that often go unnoticed.
To get a snap of this fuchsia critter, Richard had to take a series of incredible close-up snaps with a special macro lens and layer them over each other to get a clear image.
And the work put into getting the shots has clearly paid off as Richard has received a great deal of praise from fellow wildlife fanatics in his photography group.
Richard said: “Incredibly both sightings, this one and the one a year ago, were just a few feet apart. I very much doubt it’s the same one and it could be a coincidence.
“But we might also have a family of pink grasshoppers living in Ipswich.
“Unless this one is actually a green grasshopper wearing a little pink onesie trying to make a fashion statement. If so, I want one in a hoodie next.
“I’ve had lots of people see the photo and tell me they never knew pink grasshoppers existed and people have been quite amazed by it. It’s really nice.
“Photography is just a hobby for me but getting that appreciation from other people is really great.
“What I like about macro photography is being able to see the things that you can’t normally see with the naked eye, things you would normally just pass by day to day.
“On some insects the detail and the colours are quite incredible and also some of them can have quite funny facial expressions too. None of these you would normally be able to see.
“And with macro photography, you can take photos everywhere.
“You don’t have to seek out an amazing landscape, you can just be in your own garden and there will be loads to photograph if you just look closely.”