Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spittin' Pretty

Photo by Gene Spesard 3/25/2015

Inquiring minds want to know: Who's spitting on Sunflower/Aster Family plants? Snakes, toads, humans? For the spit in this photo, we have a Spittlebug nymph to thank. (These insects are also known as Froghoppers.) Alas, it's not really spit, though. 

The "spittle" produced by a Spittlebug nymph is something far more disgusting than spit, it's actually fluid expelled from a Spittlebug's anus, mixed and frothed together with a mucilaginous (moist and sticky) substance secreted by its skin glands. Because they suck watery plant sap all day, Spittlebug nymphs have plenty of anal fluid to use for spit blob making.

Now you know!

1 comment:

  1. As one of our naturalists put it, "Damn glad I didn't lick my finger after all!"

    This is also known as snake spit, which I love even if it is totally incorrect.