Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Spittlebug spittle on wireweed

with 31 comments

spittlebug-spittle-on-wireweed-9408

Date: September 7.

Place: Northeast Metropolitan Park in Pflugerville.

Wireweed: Symphyotrichum subulatum, a.k.a. hierba del marrano.

Written by Steve Schwartzman

November 11, 2016 at 5:35 AM

31 Responses

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  1. I am probably one of the few people who really likes spittle bugs. Nice photo.

    Maria Gianna Iannucci

    November 11, 2016 at 5:40 AM

  2. Plenty of your spittlebug’s cousins in my garden at the moment. Impressive spittle!

    Gallivanta

    November 11, 2016 at 6:20 AM

    • Ah, one big happy international family.

      The bubbles are minuscule, but together they do make an impression—at least for those of us inclined to be impressed by such things.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 11, 2016 at 7:34 AM

      • Spittlebugs love my mint. I have yet to ingest spittle or spittlebug but I fear I may one day. That will be an interesting experience when it happens.

        Gallivanta

        November 11, 2016 at 8:17 AM

  3. We see a lot of these in Oklahoma too, though I cannot say I ever saw one when I lived in Nebraska.

    Littlesundog

    November 11, 2016 at 7:24 AM

  4. What an interesting picture! I’ve never before seen something like that!

    Pit

    November 11, 2016 at 9:43 AM

  5. I’m always delighted when I come across these in the field.

    melissabluefineart

    November 11, 2016 at 10:31 AM

    • Are they pretty common up your way?

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 11, 2016 at 11:54 AM

      • Oh yes, they love the prairie and river edges. I haven’t paid much attention to them; I imagine there are ones that are specific to certain hosts. Like dodder~ I was surprised to learn that a few summers ago.

        melissabluefineart

        November 12, 2016 at 10:30 AM

        • My understanding is that some species of dodder are specialists and others are generalists. I’m guessing, as you surmise, that at least some spittlebugs are specialists because I’ve seen instances in which spittle occurs on many plants of a given species but not on other nearby plants.

          Steve Schwartzman

          November 12, 2016 at 10:39 AM

  6. I once had a friend whose last name was Spittle, but I never bugged her about it.

    I also like finding these and once in a while am lucky enough to see a spittle-less bug which you have already seen. https://sggphoto.wordpress.com/2014/07/24/07-24-2014-brickyard-dew-drops/

    Steve Gingold

    November 11, 2016 at 5:21 PM

    • Good play on words in your first sentence.

      I remember your picture of the spittleless spittlebug. I’ve read that people sometimes mistake these critters for leafhoppers, which aren’t related.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 11, 2016 at 6:40 PM

  7. The uniformity of the bubbles is striking. This reminded me at first of some of your other bubble photos, but this seems to have more texture: a characteristic that makes sense,, given that it isn’t water, but a substance produced by the bug. Actually, it reminds me of egg white on its way to becoming meringue. There’s a stage in the beating process where the white has taken in enough air to be bubbly, but it hasn’t yet begun to stiffen and peak. The similarity’s remarkable.

    shoreacres

    November 12, 2016 at 9:47 PM

    • You probably won’t be surprised to hear that physicists and mathematicians have studied bubbles. I’m happy enough just photographing them.

      Maybe you can design a dessert whose final stage is bubbly. Especially if frozen, that dessert would add texture to taste.

      Steve Schwartzman

      November 12, 2016 at 11:13 PM

  8. I was weeding the other day and sure enough there was spittle! Great shot Steve 😃

    Julie@frogpondfarm

    November 14, 2016 at 2:21 AM


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