09/06/2020 - Permalink

Great Outdoors Wildlife Blog: Cuckoo Spit

Related topics: Climate change / environment / Community / Coronavirus / Health / Leisure, culture and heritage

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.

An image of cuckoo spit which can be found in Shropshire's countryside.

Cuckoo Spit

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.

An image of a froghopper which can be found in the Shropshire countryside.

Red and Black Froghopper

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.

Previous blogs

First sign of Spring
Brimstone Butterfly 
Bluebells – The Woodland Blues
Dawn Chorus
Trees in Bloom
Life on the Riverbank

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