Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Spittlebug spittle

with 14 comments

Spittlebug Spittle at Base of Firewheel 4289

In the background of yesterday’s June 16th photograph from Great Hills Park you saw some Gaillardia pulchella, known as firewheel and Indian blanket. On at least a dozen of those flower stalks, including this one that was bent over, I found spittlebug spittle. If you’d like to see a seemingly crystalline goblet of spittle, check out the second photograph in Steve Gingold’s post from two days ago. The dense bubbles in both pictures remind me of the similarly dense but larger ones from Great Hills Park’s main creek that you recently saw.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 26, 2014 at 5:49 AM

14 Responses

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  1. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble…


    July 26, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    • I like the way you “doubled” the witches’ line. The only fire having anything to do with these bubbles was the firewheel that held them. I did toil in the heat and humidity to photograph these bubbles, but that’s just the routine trouble I go through to take nature pictures in Texas.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2014 at 8:29 AM

  2. Spittle has never looked so good!


    July 26, 2014 at 8:05 AM

  3. Did you know that it is the nymphal stage of the spittle bug which is responsible for the production of the frothy mass? Individuals use piercing mouthparts to gain entrance to a plant stem and then feed on the sap within. Apparently the pumping action of feeding is so efficient that sap accumulates around groups of the voracious little things. So the frothy mass provides both sustenance and protection. Another well-composed, and colorful, Schwarztman-shot. D


    July 26, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    • I did know that it was the nymphs that produce the spittle. At


      I learned that the adults are known as froghoppers because they can jump many times their own height.

      I’m glad you like this latest Schwartzman-shot (a happy alliteration). (By the way, your comment came through this time without the usual link to your pairodox blog.)

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 26, 2014 at 8:39 AM

  4. That’s a very polite calling card left by the bug. Thanks for the link, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    July 27, 2014 at 1:00 PM

    • Perhaps we should say it’s a do-not-call card left by the little insect. You’re welcome for the link.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 27, 2014 at 3:37 PM

  5. The photo of the bubbling creek’s a good analog to this one, but a quick browse of your bubble photos reminded me of how many I really enjoyed, especially this one. It also occurred to me that, while we drink bubbly from stemmed glasses, in this case, the bubbles are on the stem. They’re probably not as tasty, though.


    July 28, 2014 at 6:49 AM

    • I’m fond of bubble pictures, and I take new ones from time to time, but the challenge here is not to overdo them. The picture of the spittlebug bubbles followed quickly after the one from the creek last week, but this time no body of water was involved, and a flower was, so there was quite a difference.

      Even though I likened Steve Gingold’s spittlebug spittle to a goblet, I’ve never entertained the thought, as you did following your clever metaphor of a stemmed glass, of drinking from it. People in some cultures eat insects, after all, so spittlebug spittle might be an appropriate beverage for them.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 28, 2014 at 7:35 AM

  6. Terrific colours!

    Brian Comeau

    July 28, 2014 at 8:59 PM

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