The star of this month's Bug Box has a colorful history. This large insect is normally a bright green, helping it blend in with foliage. On rare occasions, however, it can be found in shades of pink, yellow, tan, or orange.
In the early 1900s, scientists were divided on the cause of these unusual colors. Some declared it was the result of the changing seasons, the insect’s age, or other environmental factors. In 1916, entomologist Joseph Hancock successfully bred pink katydids in captivity to show that the colors were the result of genetics.
Nearly a hundred years later, researchers at the Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium in New Orleans studied these fascinating katydids in a breeding program. They learned that the alleles for green coloration are actually recessive traits, with the “rare” colors actually being dominant - but since pink, yellow, and orange katydids are more likely to be spotted by predators, green remains the “most fit” coloration and the most likely to be found in the wild.
Give an old katydid new colors and get a bonus pin
Deluxe box subscribers this month might notice their special item is quite different from our usual art style. The charming katydid artwork on your tote bag was found in the 1890 issue of the Sunday Magazine, in a story about singing insects.
We're inviting you to give this old bug a new look - decorate your tote bag with your own pins, patches, or whatever else you can think of. Then, share it on social media with the hashtag #bugbox and give us a tag. We'll send you a code to get a bonus female katydid in your choice of color - green, pink, or yellow!*
We can't wait to see where you take this bug on your adventures.
* Offer is valid to Bug Box deluxe subscribers, August 2023 Deluxe box purchasers, and Katydid Tote purchasers through December 31, 2023. Free pin coupon does not expire. Limit 1 per customer.