What Is It?; December 2010; Scientific American Magazine; by Anna Kuchment; 1 Page(s)
This pink-and-green katydid, a large grasshopper, is one of 200 new species that scientists recently discovered in Papua New Guinea. About three inches long, it lives in the forest canopy of the rugged Muller Range in the central-western part of the country. Harvard University's Piotr Naskrecki, who found the katydid on an expedition for Conservation International, says it probably evolved its pink eyes as a form of camouflage. "Leaves in tropical forests are often dotted with fungi and epiphytes [plants that grow on other plants]," he says.
"Although these eyes may look striking to us, when the katydid sits motionless, they help with the illusion that it is just a leaf." Fortunately, they didn't fool Naskrecki.