Saturday, June 26, 2010

Spit bugs aka Spittlebugs aka Froghoppers

Did you know that a small bug lives in the little spots of "spit" you see on plants around this time of year? It's true!  The nymphs of spit bugs, also called spittlebugs or froghoppers, secrete the liquid (not out of their mouth, but rather out the other end) to hide in to keep themselves safe from predators, to keep from drying out, and to help insulate themselves from temperature extremes.

Today my children and I went to a place in our yard where we had seen lots of those little spots of "spit" to see if we could see for ourselves that there really are little bugs there and to see what they look like.  I thought it was kind of hard to find the tiny bugs, but I was impressed that my two oldest children were very good at finding the bugs inside the froth.  The bugs are kind of cute, in a tiny-bug type of way. ;)

Here are some pictures taken by my older daughter today:

The little bugs cover themselves so well!
A bug my daughter uncovered:

A spit bug crawling on my daughter's finger (do you think
their face looks a little bit like a frog's face?):

A spit bug crawling on my daughter's shoe:
Here are a couple pictures I took of some grass in our yard:
Here are two very short videos my older daughter took of a spit bug crawling around:




Would you like to see how to uncover a spit bug?  Here is a video of my older son helping his younger siblings find a spit bug.  :-)



Here are some pictures I took earlier this month at Fort Steilacoom Park:

On a stinging nettle plant:

On a common snowberry shrub:


Resources
Wikipedia: Froghopper
Spittlebugs You Can Say Spittlebug, Spittle Bug or Froghopper - They're All Hard to Miss by Marie Iannotti, About.com Guide
Book suggestion for ages 9-12: Nature Close-Up - Spittlebugs and Other Sap Tappers

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