Spittlebug

Have you noticed any plants around recently with what look like little blobs of soapsuds on them?

We have tons of these around here at the moment. As I’m sure some of you know, these globs of foam are actually produced by insects called spittlebugs. It took a little fiddling to get a photo of one – I had to scrape the “spittle” off onto a twig, then gently blow on it to break it up until I could see the tiny insect in the center – but I finally managed it.

Spittlebugs are actually the nymph stage of insects in the superfamily Cercopoidea, the “froghoppers.” As adults they jump from plant to plant like leafhoppers or grasshoppers. The nymphs produce their froth with fluids from the plants they live on, and it hides them from predators and parasites, keeps them moist, and insulates them from temperature extremes.

Yet another weird adaptation for surviving life in the woods as a tiny insect!

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4 thoughts on “Spittlebug”

  1. I too wondered for the longest time, as they are everywhere early summer in Texas. Someone–maybe a mischievous babysitter?– even gave me a tall tale about it being snake spit–a warning sign to be on the watch out for fangs.

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