The OpenScience Laboratory The Open University

iSpot Forum

A question about bugs

The query refers to this article:
Some years ago - around the time I started using this site, I made a comment or an identification (can’t remember which), about Cercopsis vulnerata (red-and-black froghopper), which prompted a comment from someone with a “good” reputation to tell me that the nymphs of this species don’t produce “cuckoo spit”.
But this article suggests that they do.
I’d sooner trust someone with several iSpot reputation icons than a journalist, but who’s right here?
You cannot hope to bribe or twist
The noble British journalist
But, seeing what he’s apt to do,
Unbribed, there’s no reason to."

(Updated - corrected a typo)

I believed that they did and I have seen fields stuffed with Red and Black Froghoppers and the ‘spittle’ was everywhere. But having a look for reliable sources I haven’t found anything to say specifically that they do.

However, the research is about the Xylella bacterium which I read is spread by xylem feeding insects. Cercopis vulnerata is considered to be a vector for this bacteria, which suggests they are xylem feeders and liable to produce the ‘spittle’.

So on balance I would say yes they do.

Great poem…
I am surprised that they are asking for sightings of spittle. Are there any UK places where there are no frog-hoppers?

I agree it did seem a tad pointless, but they are also asking about the host plant - maybe that’s the key piece of information?

Was it me who said they don’t produce cuckoo spit? My understanding is the nymphs of Cercopis are on roots, so they may produce froth but it will be underground. So the cuckoo spit that you see on vegetation shouldn’t be Cercopis.

I can’t remember, I’m afraid. It was several years ago. But thanks for the information.

When I tried to access the site on the day of the article it was overwhelmed, so I looked today and you are right, it does ask for a host.