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Creepy-Crawlies Cuckoo Spit

Cuckoo Spit - Photo  Copyright 2001 Gary Bradley Photo: G. Bradley

UK Safari Tip:
A great way to observe creepy-crawlies without handling them is by using a special magnifier box - click here

Latin name: Philaenus spumarius

Size: The adult insects are between 4 and 12mms, depending on the species.

Distribution: Commonly found throughout the UK.

Months seen: April to June.

Habitat: Woodland edges and grassland.

Food: Plant sap, extracted from the leaves and stems.

Special features: Many people are familiar with the frothy mass, commonly known as "cuckoo spit", which is seen on plants in spring and early summer.

The froth is created to help protect the developing nymphs of froghoppers. The nymphs drink more plant sap than they need for growth and health. The undigested excess is then blown out of the back end, producing the froth. The froth hides them from predators.

The name "froghopper" comes from the appearance of the insect when viewed from above, which is quite frog-like. The similarity is enhanced by the insects ability to jump incredible distances.

Track Down More Info

Photo of a Froghopper Nymph
Photo of an Adult Froghopper
UK Safari Creepy-Crawlies Section

  2006 G. Bradley. All Rights Reserved