Thursday, May 19, 2011

Bugs In The Backyard - Spittlebugs

Can you see the bug on this leaf?

How about now, through a handheld magnifier?

Maybe with the help of an arrow? You can click the picture to make it bigger.

Here's what it looks like once it crawls out of it's frothy cover.

And, here's what it looks like without the aid of a magnifier.

What is it? It's a spittlebug, also known as the nymph of a froghopper. It sucks sap from plants, and secretes a clear liquid, which it froths into a spit-like foam, to hide in while it eats. Although a pest, one or two of them are not too damaging to plants.

In her book, Bug Feats of Montana, which we've found an invaluable resource for identifying the bugs in our backyard, Deborah Richie Oberbillig awards the adult froghoppers the title of "World Record Holder" for their high jumping abilities. They've been known to leap two feet in the air, a hundred times higher than their height.

It's great to be a homeschooler!


One Rich Mother said...

oh how neat! I have seen that "spit" like stuff on leaves before and figured it had to do with a bug or something but never really knew much more about it than that. Thank you for sharing! : )

Susan said...

Love it! We looked at bugs today too.

Christy Killoran said...

Gross and cool at the same time.

Ticia said...

Interesting....... Now that gets me thinking of a fun thing to do with this when we get to Montana.

Natalie PlanetSmarty said...

Two feet in the air? This is pretty amazing. I've never seen this here in CA, but I might not know where to look :)