Spit Bug?

Hello everyone! I hope this post finds you well. Have you ever wondered what that spit-looking stuff on grass and other plants are? Well, even as a kid I remembered seeing it and really never gave it much thought. I see it off and on and just thought it was weird. A few days ago I saw it on some grass and clover and curiosity got the best of me so I took a few photos. 

I uploaded the above photo on iNaturalist and it said “it was pretty sure” it was a species of Philaenus and showed a photo of an insect. The second and third choice were slime molds. Well, I thought at first it couldn’t be an insect so I checked out the slime molds. That just didn’t seem to be what it was either.

I went ahead and posted the photo as a class of Myxomycetes and a member commented, “have you considered spittlebugs?” and included a link. He also said, “If  you brush away some of the spittle it is usually easy to find the insect inside.” Another member said, “It’s not a slime mold. It’s called ‘cuckoo spit’ (in Australis).” 

So, I checked out the link for spittlebugs then went to see if I could find the bug.

I moved some of the spit around and didn’t see anything except for this yellowish speck which wasn’t an insect. So, I moved to another wad of spit…

 

Low and behold, there was a larvae of a spittlebug. That was really weird to find a little critter crawling around in spit…

Philaenus spumarius (Meadow Spittlebug)

I took a few photos and uploaded them on iNaturalist and it was identified as Philaenus spumarius which is the Meadow Spittlebug.

 

Philaenus spumarius (Meadow Spittlebug)

Wikipedia says it is the Meadow Froghopper or Meadow Spittlebug and it belongs to the family Aphrophoridae. The genus name, Philaenus, comes from the Greek word philein which means “love”. The species name, spumarius, comes from the Latin word puma which means “sparkling” from the foam nests. The name Philaenus spumarius is translated as “foam lover.” Hmmm…

The species originally comes from the Palaearctic ecozone. It was later introduced to North America and Canada. Apparently, it is important because it is a vector of Xyellia fastidiosa. Xyellia fastidiosa is a plant pathogen that causes several types of leaf scorches and other issues. So, this little critter is a valuable worker.

You can check out THIS LINK to Wikipedia to read more about the Philaenus spumarius. You just never know what is lurking around in the yard and pastures.

That’s it for this post. I have a few more posts in the works which I might be able to finish today. At least one…

Until next time, be safe and stay positive, stay well and always be thankful. I hope you are getting dirty!

 

18 comments on “Spit Bug?

  1. I have seen spittle bug spittle over the years but never wanted to get into the spittle to see the spittle bug. I am glad you did. Interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Lisa! I wish I could remember what my thought was when I first saw it as a kid. Just another strange way some insects evolved but who knows why. Oh, I used a stick to move the spittle around. It could contain some weird virus. Take care and thanks for the comment!

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  2. Dayphoto says:

    WOW! Another new bit of information for my brain! We don’t have those here, still, I enjoyed seeing and learning about them. By the way…THAT is a lot of spit!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. katechiconi says:

    The minute I saw the photo in my Reader I thought “cuckoo spit”, which is what we called it in the UK! Froghoppers are very common there and a bit of a pest in the garden because they suck the plant sap and distort stems.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Kate! I see a few leafhoppers now and then now I have to pay more attention. They could be your Froghopper from the cuckoo spit. 🙂 They are interesting to watch as they move to the other side of plant stems like they are hiding. Not good, though, if they cause problems with plants. Take care and thanks for the coment!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I saw something similar one day in our garden last week. Thanks for the post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello there! You are very welcome for the post! I think I have only seen the spittle in the pastures and usually on clover. I checked your FB page… Is your name Barbara? I like using first names when I reply to a comment. 🙂 Take care and thanks for the comment!

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  5. Littlesundog says:

    This is a big spittlebug year here on our place. I notice it on all sorts of grasses in the orchard area and along the old river channel. I’ve only see the adult spittlebug which is black.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Laura! I guess it is your year for spit. 🙂 Hopefully, the adults won’t cause any harm to your plants. We didn’t have a severly cold winter so the bugs could be a little worse than last year. It may be why you have more spit. 🙂 Take care and thanks for the comment!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. tonytomeo says:

    I could have told you that; except for the part that it was introduced to North America. I was not aware of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Yeah, I have seen these a few times. Yuck.

    Liked by 1 person

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