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Spittle bug  (#Cercopoidea) | by Isaiah Rosales
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Spittle bug (#Cercopoidea)

Who knew spit could be a lifesaver, literally! And the group of inverts that know this all too well are the nymphs of Frog hoppers, a group of hemipteran insects in the suborder Auchenorrhyncha (Cicada's, Leaf hoppers, Aphids etc)...

 

Adults are capable of jumping many times their height and length, giving the group their common name, but they are best known for their plant-sucking nymphs which encase themselves in foam in springtime.

 

best known for the nymphal stage, which produces a cover of foamed-up plant sap visually resembling saliva; the nymphs are therefore commonly known as spittlebugs and their foam as cuckoo spit, frog spit, or snake spit. This characteristic spittle production is associated with the unusual trait of xylem feeding. Whereas most insects that feed on sap feed on the nutrient-rich fluid from the phloem, Cercopidae utilize the much more dilute sap flowing upward from the roots via the xylem. The large amount of excess water that must be excreted and the evolution of special breathing tubes allow the young spittlebug nymphs to grown in the relatively protective environment of the spittle.

 

The foam serves a number of purposes. It hides the nymph from the view of predators and parasites, and it insulates against heat and cold, thus providing thermal control and also moisture control; without the foam, the insect would quickly dry up. The nymphs pierce plants and suck sap causing very little damage, much of the filtered fluids go into the production of the foam, which has an acrid taste, deterring predators. A few species are serious agricultural pests. (#Cercopoidea)

 

In situ

Single shot

Source: Wikipedia -

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Uploaded on December 12, 2019