Why Cuckoo Spit is Called, Well, Cuckoo Spit

In late spring, we begin to hear the familiar call of cuckoos and then we can expect Cuckoo spit begins to appear.

The questions bear asking, what is Cuckoo spit and is it really the spit of the cuckoo bird?

In late spring, we begin to hear the familiar call of cuckoos and then we can expect Cuckoo spit begins to appear. 

The questions bear asking, what is Cuckoo spit and is it really the spit of the cuckoo bird?
 
The Spittlebug, also know as the Froghopper is the culprit. (The poor Cuckoo bird, it turns out is only a stool pigeon.)

The immature froghoppers (nymphs) have specialized Malpighian tubules.
Malpighian tubules synthesize the plant xylem sap that they eat.
The excreted sap becomes viscous.
The tip of the abdominal breathing tube to introduce bubbles of air into the excretions.
The bubbles forms a white frothy liquid that looks like spittle

Nymphs may use Cuckoo Spit as means of protection against predators

The growth of affected plants is not usually affected, with the exception of some occasional distorted growth. Thus the insects can be tolerated and there is no need for insecticide.

 If you just don‘t care for the way they look, you can wipe the leaf off by hand or spray it with a garden hose to wash it away.

 Sources:
http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/specialcollections/digital/metcalf/spittlebugs.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Froghopper

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