Blowing Bubbles

There are a group of bugs called froghoppers whose larval stages blow bubbles out of their rear ends.  The bubbles are sticky and cover the animals.  This provides a certain amount of protection from predators.  If you look closely you might find them on plants near you.


Here is what the bubbles look like.  This was on a dogwood tree.

I have a little wash bottle, and I washed the bubbles off and separated it from its preferred location.


Because of their location, and because of their looks, I think these guys are dogwood spittlebugs, Clastoptera proteus.

Some clusters of bubbles contain more than one individual.


I have been looking for a different insect, however.  There is a tiny fly that has an unusual larva–a maggot with tiny prolegs.  It lives in the spittle secreted by these insects.  Its habits are not well known–it does not seem to be parasitic, at least not normally.  They have been reported to occur in the spittle mass of insects of this genus.

I will keep looking and let you know if I find any.


About the roused bear

Nature photographer from central Iowa.
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