A caretaking crew for a private property in Aquinnah was hard at work Tuesday pruning dead branches with chainsaws. Sawdust was flying everywhere, so Alex Poole of Chilmark stepped down off the ladder to get the stuff out of his sneaker. While down there working on the sneaker, he was distracted by a flash of pink. On closer inspection, he announced: “Pink grasshopper!”
Albert Fischer, the man in charge of the crew, knew better. He’d seen katydids before, but never had they been pink.
A quick Google search found that one in 500 of these cricket-like insects are pink. “One article said if you were going to look for it. you are more likely to find a unicorn,” Mr. Fischer said.
For now, he’s keeping the pink katydid in a plastic container with holes, photographing it and observing its behavior, which so far has included meticulous washing of its feet in its mouth and hesitant consumption of an apple tree leaf.
“I took it out, and at first it was very nervous,” Mr. Fischer said. “It’s a really sweet little bloke.” It has long antennae, which distinguish it from a grasshopper. While he was photographing it, “one of my chickens was in hot pursuit of it,” so he threw down a hat to scare the bird away.
Island wildlife specialist Gus Ben David, contacted for more information about the species, says he doesn’t know much about their biology, but thinks it is the third or fourth pink katydid that’s been sighted on the Island in his time here.