Wild Fact #352 – Super Spittle – Froghopper

Froghopper | Spittlebug | Spit Bug

Photo from Wikimedia

I realized today that it has been quite awhile since we have shown a little love for the always intriguing insect world. Therefore the last two facts of the week will be dedicated to those tiny creatures that we all adore. The first of the two insect facts this week will be highlighting the fascinating Froghopper. I bet you are thinking that you have no idea what this bug is but I am willing to bet you have seen them before. Typically, it is their nymph stage that gets all kinds of attention. Have you ever heard of a “Spittlebug”? You know those tiny gobs of “spit” that you find on a blade of grass or tucked into the crevice of a leaf…..well, that is the nymph stage of the Froghopper!

Ewwww…This Bug Just Spit On Me!

As mentioned, the nymph stage gets all the attention and as such, all the cool names. Besides being known as Spit Bugs or Spittlebugs, which is incredibly fun to say, their spit-like substance is often referred to as cuckoo spit, frog spit or finally, snake spit. I guess somebody wasn’t too sure what animal species was spitting all over the place. So what does this frothy “spit” do for the Froghopper? First of all, it provides some much needed protection to the nymph stage by concealing it from predators and parasites. Heck, even people don’t realize there is a bug underneath all of the “frog spit”. Secondly, this frothy substance helps regulate the temperature of their environment and finally it keeps the Froghopper nymph nice and moist. Who would have thought there would be so many uses for a little bit of spit.

Spittlebug | Spit Bug | Froghopper

Spittlebug - Photo by Pollinator (Wikimedia)

Olympic High Jumper

Although, I am sure we can continue learning about the interesting habits of the Spittlebug, let’s move on to the adult form of the Froghopper. Believe it or not, the adult version of this insect has been deemed as the Worlds Best Leaper. Yes, they can even out-jump the amazing flea! This particular insect is capable of jumping up to 70 cm high. Okay, that doesn’t sound like a lot, does it? Once you consider their overall size though, it would be equivalent to a 6′ person jumping roughly 600 feet straight up. If you were able to achieve this….you would be a superhero. Even more incredible is the amount of G-Force the little Froghopper and can sustain during their jump. Typically, a human will pass out once we reach roughly 5 gs but this tiny insect is capable of handling up to 400 gs, which is a stunning accomplishment. These impressive facts make me love the insect world more and more every day.

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