Saturday, 21 June 2014
I was reminded by the Springwatch programme that the 'Cuckoo spit' we see on plant stems is produced by a tiny aphid-like insect called a Froghopper (Philaenus spumarius) which hops a considerable distance when disturbed. In fact, it is actually the nymphs which live in a protective frothy mass of bubbles. The adult is a champion jumper and is able to leap 70cm into the air - a greater feat than the flea and similar to a human jumping over a tower block! Adults mate back-to-back, and the subsequent nymphs go through a number of stages. Both adults and nymphs feed on plant sap using specialised, sucking mouth parts.