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Spittlebugs could be called piddlebugs. If you have walked along the edge of a meadow, you have probably seen the white bubbly froth hanging on the stalks of plants. Who lives in there? The nymph of an insect called a froghopper.
A spittlebug sucks up watery sap from a plant. As it excretes urine, it forms tiny bubbles. The nymph expels a lot of pee, average of 200 times its body mass every day. This is equivalent to over 2,000 gallons for a 150 lb human. The more it drinks, the more it pees and therefore makes more bubbles. This foam, sometimes called cuckoo spit, keeps the nymph hidden, moist and in a controlled temperature while it grows. Not surprising, it tastes bad, so it is protection from predators such as other insects, amphibians, reptiles and birds.
How does the nymph breathe in this bubbly nest? Usually it sticks the tip of its abdomen out of the foam as a kind of snorkel. If it feels threatened, the nymph will dive down into the middle of the bubbles. It can also break smaller bubbles to form a larger bubble to breath oxygen if needed.
Enjoy making super bubbles with the recipe below.
Keep an eye out for spittlebugs and froghoppers along the trails.
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