Great Outdoors Wildlife Blog: Cuckoo Spit
Everyone will be familiar with the curious appearance of cuckoo spit around the countryside at this time of year. Drops of white foam suddenly appear on plant stems. The name cuckoo spit refers to the timing which coincides with the cuckoo’s temporary residence in the UK.
Cuckoo spit actually has nothing to do with birds. It is produced by an invertebrate called a common frog hopper (or spittle bug). If you carefully tease inside the foam you will find that it protects a tiny green larvae. Another common species is the red and black froghopper. Their larvae feed underground on plant roots.
Froghoppers are listed in the Guinness Book of World Records under the ‘highest jump by an insect’ category! These incredible bugs have been recorded jumping a height of 70cm and accelerating at 4000m per second. This is equivalent to a human jumping over a sky scraper! The hind legs of froghoppers act as a ‘catapult’ to release energy explosively
Written by Edward Andrews from Shropshire Council’s outdoor partnerships team. The team manages and preserves country parks and countryside sites right across Shropshire for people to enjoy and wildlife to flourish.
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