Monday, 15 December 2008

Spit!

I found heaps of 'spittle' on one large low-hanging branch on my Blackwood (Acacia melanoxylon) last Thursday before we had significant rain over the weekend.

The spittle is the secretion of the Spittlebug nymph. They attach themselves to a stem, gorge themselves on the sap, taking up excessive amounts of water and carbohydrates. They expel the excess via their anal area, thus providing themselves with a frothy 'cocoon' which protects the nymph from predation as well as insulating it from the elements.

I didn't wreck one of the frothy masses to find the nymph, deciding to leave them in peace. I will have another look for the insect now the wind has ceased here and the camera is back on the table!

(Click to enlarge)

UPDATE: I did a little exploration.

Here's the Spittlebug nymph It quickly regained it's composure with more spittle!

HEMIPTERA : Aphrophoridae

2 comments:

Gaye from the Hunter said...

hi Junior Lepid,

that is absolutely fascinating!! I have found similar frothy stuff on Callistamon trees in my garden and wondered what the devil they could be.

Thank you so much.

Cheers
Gaye

Junior Lepid said...

Hello Gaye,

Glad I could help. I've been looking out for this. I'd seen it before but couldn't remember exactly when.

It's a massive learning experience, isn't it?