AN EIGHT-YEAR-OLD girl was tickled pink when she stumbled across this rare coloured insect while blackberry picking on Portland.
Rosie Matthews-Wood couldn’t believe her magical find and said she thought the rare pink coloured grasshopper was ‘more like a Disney character’ than an everyday insect.
Rosie made the discovery on Wednesday while out picking blackberries and walking the dog towards the Grove field with her mum Sarah Matthews, 34.
Sarah said: “Our borough is full of beautiful wildlife to celebrate, but on Wednesday Rosie came across a creature more akin to a Disney character while blackberry picking.
“We suddenly saw this flash of pink and I asked Rosie to see what it was; when she told me I couldn’t believe it.
“Before this I’d never heard of a pink grasshopper before, and when I told my boyfriend he didn’t believe me until I showed him the pictures.
“Residents of Weymouth and Portland can now count themselves among the lucky few nationally to have seen the rare pink gene in some of our meadow grasshoppers.”
Sarah added that according to research, the pink colouring is due to a genetic mutation, called an erythrism. It is unusual and caused by a recessive gene, similar to albino animals.
She said: “These grasshoppers may not tend to survive for long in the wild as they are easily spotted by predators, so it was such a treat for us to see a grasshopper as beautiful as this.
“We always enjoy walking where we live anyway because of the amazing views, but Rosie feels so lucky to have found the grasshopper.
“She told me she wishes all children could find treasures on bug hunts while out and about.”
Sally Welbourn, communications officer for the Dorset Wildlife Trust, identified the grasshopper as a colour variant of the female meadow grasshopper.
She said: “The meadow grasshopper is our most common grasshopper. Whilst the species isn’t rare, finding a pink one is unusual, so this really is a fantastic find.”