The Bugs That Look Just Like Spit
You probably think that you always know when you are looking at a bug, afterall, most people would prefer to avoid bugs. However, some bugs are so strange looking that you would never guess that they could be bugs. There is one odd type of bug that you may have seen several times before, but never realized it to be a bug; instead you probably dismissed it as a spitball that was planted in a garden by an inconsiderate person. This type of bug is often fittingly referred to as a spittlebug. These bugs are coated with a particular substance that resembles human spit. Spittlebugs do not have any legs, they do not have eyes, or anything else that you would associate with bugs. They look like nothing more than a typical ball of spit. However, this appearance does not last.
Spittlebugs are actually nymphs. More specifically these nymphs are true bugs known as froghoppers, and they belong to the family Cercopidae. When froghoppers are nymphs they produce spittle, which covers their entire tiny bodies. This spittle works to obscure these insects from the sight of predators, allowing them to reach maturity unharmed.
Spittlebugs feed on plants, but they avoid consuming the plant’s sap. These bugs actually consume fluids from the plant’s xylem, which are the vessels that transport water from the plant routes into the plant’s internal structures. The xylem is not the most nutritious part of the plant, and the spittlebug is forced to consume large amounts in order to become properly nourished. In fact, a spittlebug can pump up to three hundred times its own body weight in fluid derived from the xylem in just one hour.
It does not take long for a spittlebug to convert all of this consumed fluid into waste, which it then uses to hide from predators. Not only that, but spittlebugs can even use their waste as a form of shelter. The environment within this shelter can be adjusted in order to produce climatic conditions that are conducive to the spittlebugs growth.
After learning about the spittlebugs appearance, do you now believe that you have spotted these bugs in the past?