|University of Kentucky Department of Entomology|
Mystery Bug Answers
Mystery Picture #8
This rather holy-looking creature is a praying mantid. Its highly modified front legs are raised to allow it to reach out and quickly grasp its prey. Its head is very movable. It is the only insect that is able to "look over its shoulder".
Females deposit styrofoam-like oothecae or egg cases on twigs in the fall. Each egg case may contain more that 200 eggs. The eggs hatch in the late winter or early spring. Mantids are considered "good bugs" because they are highly predaceous and feed on many other insects. They can become cannilbalistic if they encounter a food shortage.
Within this wad of spit lies a spittlebug nymph. The nymphs use this spittle-like covering for a couple of reasons. First, it provides a moist environment for the nymph and will usually last a long time, through multiple rainstorms. Second, it provide protection for the small insect. Most other insects would not like to stick their face into the sticky mess to find the nymph.
Adult spittlebugs are often called froghoppers because they resemble small frogs. They do not hide in spittle masses. These insects are very common and can be pests on some meadow grasses. Occasionally, they feed on trees, also.
This page is maintained by Pat Dillon, Department of Entomology, University of Kentucky. Please send questions or suggestions to: firstname.lastname@example.org