Sunday, 22 June 2014
I expect you have seen cuckoo spit on various plants. Here is some of it on a rosebay willow herb in Filnore Woods.
Although it appears at about the same time as cuckoos used to arrive in this country, it is really caused by the young 'nymph' of a froghopper. This little creature sucks the juice out of the plant. The juice is under pressure so a lot of it just comes out the other end of the froghopper nymph plus a bit of wind, resulting in a mass of bubbles. This acts as a protection from the sharp eyes of birds who might other wise gobble the little creature up. It also stops it from drying out or getting too hot or cold.
Here's one sitting on my finger. I'm afraid I extricated it from its bubble bath to show you, which was a bit mean. It will have to blow a whole new set of bubbles when it gets back on the plant. Another way to see it is to blow gently on the bubbles.
You can just see its little black eye on my rather blurry photo.
When it grows up it will be a little brown bug with a froggy face, which can jump like a miniature grasshopper.