July 13, 2009
Lots of these on our Red Bud tree recently (July). Black body with red underside, red line and one yellow line across thorax; wings black with 2 yellow-orange stripes across them. Approx. 1 cm. length. Antennae inconspicuous.
This is a Two Lined Spittlebug, Prosapia bicincta. Spittlebugs are related to Leafhoppers and share many similarities since they are in the same suborder of Free Living Hemipterans, but they have their own family Cercopidae. The immature Spittlebugs live in a mass of foam that resembles spittle. BugGuide indicates that the damage done to plants is mild and states: “In the immature (nymph) stage (surrounded by the ‘spittle’ foam which protects them, and which they produce from juices they suck from the plant) they feed on centipedegrass, bermudagrass and other grasses, including occasionally corn. Adults feed on hollies – they feed on the underside of leaves, and damage shows up as pale mottling not usually visible from above.“