Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Spittlebug life cycle

Advertisement


Question
I have some questions about spittlebugs. Does the foam serve to conceal both adults and nymphs, or does it vary among species? And is there any evidence that the foam itself is bitter to potential predators?

Answer
Ann:

Good questions!  Only the nymphs live in the "spittle," the adults living freely and capable of flying to escape potential predators.

I think the other purpose of the foam is to prevent the nymphs from dessicating (drying out).  Whether the foam is bitter or not I don't know, but it is probably repulsive simply in texture and consistency.  Would *you* want to bury your face in soap suds while trying to get a tiny snack inside the suds? :-)

You might try "Google Scholar" and see what turns up for spittlebugs (family Cercopidae).

Eric

Entomology (Study of Bugs)

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Eric R. Eaton

Expertise

I answer insect and spider identification questions ONLY. Attach images if possible. No "what bit me?", "what do I feed this bug in captivity?", or science fair project questions please. NO TECHNICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT INSECT PHYSIOLOGY.

Experience

Principal author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America. Professional entomologist employed previously at University of Massachusetts, Chase Studio, Inc., and Cincinnati Zoo; contract work for West Virginia Department of Natural Resources, Smithsonian Institution, and Portland (Oregon) State University.

Publications
Author, Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Missouri Conservationist magazine, Ranger Rick, Birds & Blooms, Timeline (journal of the Ohio Historical Society). I have contributed to several books as well.

Education/Credentials
Oregon State University, undergraduate major in entomology, did not receive degree.

Awards and Honors
One of the top 50 experts in all categories for AllExperts.com, 2009.

Past/Present Clients
Principal author of the Kaufman Field Guide to Insects of North America, Smithsonian Institution (contract), Cincinnati Zoo (employer), Portland State University (contract), Chase Studio, Inc (employer), Arkansas Museum of Discovery (guest speaker). Currently seeking speaking engagements, leadership roles at nature festivals, workshops, and ecotours.

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.