Monday, 15 December 2008


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


Gaye 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.


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?