3 Pink Katydid
Katydids, which are similar to crickets, are often green, but new research shows that in North American katydids, pink is the genetically dominant hue—the one that determines the coloring of offspring. For decades, scientists believed that pink—as well as yellow and orange—coloring in katydids was the result of a genetic mutation controlled by recessive genes, the absence of the usual pigment of green, almost like albinism in humans.
In the last decade, researchers at New Orleans’ Audubon Butterfly Garden and Insectarium have found new insights that show the opposite to be true. They have shown that green is, in fact, a recessive trait while pink is a dominant trait. This means that if a green and pink katydid mate, the offspring will be pink—not green, as earlier theories stated.
The rarity of the pink katydids is attributed to the lack of camouflage offered by the bright coloration, compared to the green coloration. If you’re keen to see one in the wild, head to the New Orleans area, where there is a Cajun saying: “If a pink katydid lands on your shoulder on Valentine’s Day, you will find true love that year!”
2 Lake Retba, Senegal
The picture-perfect white beaches of Lake Retba in Senegal are not as perfect or inviting as they seem. Lake Retba is so salty that it rivals the infamously salty Dead Sea, and its white beaches are mostly pure salt. Its nickname, Lac Rose, is a hint to its dry season coloring: a stunning shade of pink. (Its waters are continually changing color throughout the year due to salinity.)
The source of the pink hue is the same as other pink bodies of water in the world: the algae Dunaliella. Mix up a cocktail of algae, minerals, and hot sun, and the lake can even appear blood red at certain times of the year.
The lake is a hub for salt collectors, who spend full days mining salt from the lake bed and have to slather themselves in shea butter to protect their skin from the high salinity.