Friday, 2 October 2015

Day 323 - Beauty of the Mini-Beasts - Part 12 - Fabulous Froghoppers

Common Froghopper (Philaenus spumarius)
Hi everyone, Day 323, and its been such lovely weather this week that I've managed to get out for picnics with my Mum and Dad some evenings - making the best of this lovely weather. When I was having a picnic the other day the rug reminded me that I was joined one day by today's little beastie when we had a picnic in the summer. Sometimes the nature comes to you! I can't remember when but I'm pretty sure it was in Silton Forest.

This little creature appeared on the picnic blanket but didn't stay in one place very long. I had a job to get photos as it was hopping around quite a lot. If you haven't figured it out already today I'm looking at Froghoppers!

So what did I find out about these lovely creatures:

  • This one here is a Common Froghopper and it is one of ten species of Froghopper found in the UK.
  • They are called Froghoppers as they are meant to look a bit like frogs - you can sort of see that in the bugs eye view I got - not as good as usual but everytime I got close, guess what, it hopped off!
  • I prefer the name Froghopper to another name they have which is the Spittle Bug. They get this name from the lather of bubbles they produce to hide in when they are larvae.  
  • This larvae lather is commonly known as 'Cuckoo Spit'. I've often wondered why Cuckoos were blamed for this rather than any other bird.
  •  It seems the 'Spit' appears at the same time the Cuckoos arrive back in the UK so people made a link between them. Cuckoos don't spit.
  • The larvae make the lather by eating more plant sap than they need to survive and then blowing the excess undigested sap, mixed with a substance similar to the white of an egg, out of their back ends. They then hide from predators in the big ball of bubbles they create.
  • The larvae hiding in their spit are most commonly seen in May and June. The adults are most common in June to July but can sometimes still be found right through until October.
  • They are on average only 6mm long but some may double this size.
  • You should find them all over the UK and they like habitats with lots of weedy herbaceous food plants. Woodland paths and road side verges are ideal.
  • Well how far would you think a 6mm Froghopper could jump? Ten times it's length? Try over 100 times!! Apparently they can jump up to 70cm into the air when threatened by a predator!
  • They jump with their back legs and can jump better than fleas. If humans could jump as well as them we'd apparently be jumping over blocks of flats...
  • Another amazing fact I found was that they can accelerate to 14 km per second in a millisecond!
If you want to read more on these amazing mini-beasts try:

Hope you enjoyed,


1 comment:

  1. Amazing little creatures - brilliant photos Zach! - Tasha