Posts Tagged ‘instar’

Immature Ladybugs

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Ladybugs have held my attention lately. There’s been so many of them.

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 This pupa stage of a ladybug was on the trunk of a maple tree,

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and the shed of another one was the other trunk. There were several of different sizes on the bark of the three maple trees in our backyard.

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I doubt if their nymphs are pestered by other insects!  Their spines look like they mean business.

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This is a younger, smaller instar.

Ladybugs do overwinter as adults.

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Spittlebug

Spittlebugs … and what fascinating little bugs they are. They’re also called froghoppers.  The adults are 1/4 inch long and are tan, brown or black. The nymphs feed on plant sap where a leaf attaches to a branch or where 2 branches meet.

Spittlebug spittle

The first instar of the nymphs is orange, the second through fourth are yellow, and the fifth is pale green. I walked around the yard, seeing spittle mostly on a common tall (unwanted) grass and also on asters, goldenrods, bedstraw and phlox. Then I ended up at the right place at the right time to see spittle that got too heavy and start slipping.

Spittle starting to slip

Spittle slipped and exposed the nymph

Then I found another nymph that had lost most of its spittle. I took picture after picture, trying to capture the spittle “being made.” Apparently the nymph adds air to the sap to form the bubbles.

Nymph adding air to produce bubbles

I also found a cooperative, what is probably a fifth instar nymph, not entirely covered with spittle.

An almost-adult spittle bug

I learned from observation that the nymphs usually remain with their heads down. That way the spittles’s weight brings it down over the nymphs and protects them from predators. I doubt many predators would like a mouthful of spittle. I know it’s not the most pleasant stuff to come in contact with unexpectedly when weeding.