Get smart curated videos delivered to your inbox every week.      
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 Webby award-winning video collection exists to help teachers, librarians, and families spark kid wonder and curiosity. TKSST features smarter, more meaningful content than what's usually served up by YouTube's algorithms, and amplifies the creators who make that content.

Curated, kid-friendly, independently-published. Support this mission by becoming a sustaining member today.

🌈 Watch these videos next...

Envisioning Beautiful Chemistry: Bubbling

Rion Nakaya

The Sticky Feet of Ants & Cockroaches – Cambridge Ideas

Rion Nakaya

The Praying Mantis Leaps

Rion Nakaya

Why can water drops pass through a soap bubble?

Rion Nakaya

How bubble engineer Melody Yang makes mind-blowing bubbles

Rion Nakaya

Sting, prey, raft: The successful behaviors of red imported fire ants

Rion Nakaya

Flower-like Planthopper Nymphs spring away from harm

Rion Nakaya

Are globular springtails the fastest spinning animals on Earth?

Rion Nakaya

The Leaproach

Rion Nakaya