Mona Cromb, of Green Island, asks :-
How do spittle bugs, which dont appear to have wings, travel to spread to other plants?
Ruud Kleinpaste, an entomologist who is the bugman, responded.
The Spittle bugs you see on the plants are the wingless babies (also known as larvae or nymphs). These greenish insects suck sap from the plant, extract the nitrogen from it and cover themselves with the waste in the form of bubbles which is good cover and protects them well. The bubbles are formed by the larvae taking in more sap than they need and a by-pass in the gut sees the excess flow from the anus.
As with all invertebrates, these spittle bugs are going through a life cycle and after the nymph stage they moult a few times, slowly turning into a fully-winged adult insect. This brown-ish Hemipteran emerges from the bubble of spit, flies away to find a mate and another host plant.
The fertile female then will lay a few dozen eggs, here and there on a suitable host plant, which could be hundreds of meters away! So dispersal of this spittle bug species takes place via the winged adult form.