Also known as the ‘Meadow Spittle Bug’, or simply ‘Spittle Bug’, it has mottled colour variations of shades of brown and white. It is called a ‘froghopper’ because of its extraordinary jumping abilities and its similar appearance to a frog. Length 5 to 7mm.
The nymphs of the species blow air bubbles through excrement via their anuses creating frothy air bubbles commonly called ‘cuckoo spit’, once thought to have been produced by the birds themselves because their appearance coincided with that of the spit. This forms a protective barrier whilst the nymph inside is developing towards the adult stage, and it also stops them from drying out.
It has specialised mouth parts with which it uses to pierce the soft tissue of various plants from which it will suck the sap. This has no detrimental effect on the plant, however, although it can be troublesome to field crops where found in large numbers, causing stunting of plant growth.
Seen June to September, and found on vegetation almost everywhere, including gardens. Common and widespread throughout Britain.
Photographs of Common Froghopper (Philaenus spumarius) taken July 2015, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2015. Camera used Nikon D3200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.