ᕕ( ᐛ )ᕗ   TKSST is observing a slow July posting schedule. Back at it in August. Happy summer!
The Kid Should See This

Why (and how) do spittlebugs make bubbles?

If you’ve ever seen tiny soap-like bubbles on a plant and wondered where they came from, consider these tiny insect nymphs called spittlebugs. They create the foamy bubbles for protection. It’s a bitter-tasting cocoon or shield that might discourage or bore predators like birds, wasps, and spiders that also provides emergency reserves of oxygen. From The New York Times:

The bugs create the mass of bubbles by emitting air from their abdomen into their copious and watery urine, mixed with some sticky fluid to aid in bubble formation.

“They’re really more piddlebugs than spittlebugs,” Philip G. D. Matthews, a researcher in the zoology department at the University of British Columbia, who just published a report on how spittlebugs manage to breathe in that nest of bubbles.

spittlebug foam
sheltered spittlebug
Researchers figured out that the spittlebugs were ‘snorkeling’ within the bubbles by measuring the carbon dioxide and oxygen gases in the bugs’ container and foam. And when they’re ready to transform into their adult froghopper forms, they retreat into one large bubble.

froghopper nymph
Next: Flower-like Planthopper Nymphs spring away from harm.

This feature is being tested. Saves will disappear if you clear cookies. Find saved videos here.

🌈 Related videos

Ants: Nature’s Secret Power – Excavating a giant ant hill

Rion Nakaya

Bubble freeze: Ice crystals form on a bubble in just a few seconds

Rion Nakaya

The unexpected beauty & design of a mosquito’s metamorphosis

Rion Nakaya

A diver makes underwater vortex rings that can knock over rocks

Rion Nakaya

The Bubble Artist: Su Chung Tai (蘇仲太)

Rion Nakaya

Envisioning Beautiful Chemistry: Bubbling

Rion Nakaya

Flower-like Planthopper Nymphs spring away from harm

Rion Nakaya

A levitating top in a foggy soap bubble

Rion Nakaya

Return of the Cicadas by Samuel Orr

Rion Nakaya

Browse the TKSST Video Collections

Get 7 smart videos delivered every week.