Reserva Ecológica Costanera Sur

Sitio realizado por aficionados a la observación de aves desde 10 de enero 2006

Spittlebug - Cephisus siccifolius

Order Hemiptera
Family Aphrophoridae
22-04-17 © Pablo Serur
15-02-20 © Gustavo F. Brahamian
19-11-16 © Gustavo Masuzzo

It rains under the Tipu trees (Tipuana tipu)

When November comes and rosewoods become green again an unusual phenomenon is witnessed for only a couple of weeks - it rains under the rosewoods no matter if it is a sunny or cloudy day.This is caused by an insect, the spittlebug, whose nymph feeds on this tree's sap. The nymph produces a spittle mass around the stalks which is a good cover against predators and keeps it moist. The foam is the waste product eliminated after sap nutrients have been absorbed, into which air bubbles are introduced through a breathing tube which is at the end of the abdomen of the nymph.

Chicharrita de la espuma/Spittlebug© Carlos Gonzlez Ledo
Nymphs are under the foam
Chicharrita de la espuma/Spittlebug© Roberto Ares
I came across it when I enlarged the photo© Roberto Ares
When the spittle masses become too heavy they disintegrate into drops. This is known as "the weeping of the tipu trees". If dripping is intense puddles are formed on the ground.
Chicharrita de la espuma/Spittlebug© Roberto Ares Chicharrita de la espuma/Spittlebug© Cora Rimoldi
This phenomenon may be experienced under the rosewoods planted on the streets. But this phenomenon may well pass unnoticed since "the weeding of the Tipu trees" is confused with "the weeping of the balconies".

Cephisus siccifolius
Chicharrita de la espuma/Spittlebug24 10 15 © Sergio CusanoThe drop is about to fall. Mostly legumes are affected. Other trees parasitized by the spittlebug in the reserve - Cockspur tree (above) and Prosopis (below)Algarrobo/Prosopis