Philaenus spumarius (Linnaeus 1758)

Cuckoo-spit insect , Meadow froghopper , Meadow spittlebug

Basionym: Cicada spumarius Linnaeus, 1758
Published in: Linnaeus, C.  1758. Systema Naturae, Ed. X. (Syste

Description & Identification

Adults are typically 5- 7mm long; females are slightly larger than males.

P. spumarius is extremely variable in colour and pattern, ranging from pale brown through to completely black, broadly divisible between the predominantly pale forms and the mostly black ’melanic’ ones (above and below the line, respectively, on the diagram below right). As with all froghoppers, they have two stout spines on the outer edge of the hind tibiae and several smaller spines at the tip. Nymphs have no markings and range from uniform pale yellow when first emerged to lime green in later stages. (Harkin & Stewart, 2019)

Philaenus can be distinguished from Neophilaenus species by their more convex outline when viewed from above (as opposed to the more parallel-sided Neophilaenus) and their overall pattern of markings. They are much smaller than Aphrophora species, although the patterning in the typical (TYP) form of Philaenus can appear similar to A. alni. (Harkin & Stewart, 2019)


Biology & Ecology

Philaenus spumarius is known to feed on over 400 different plant species. It can be found in most open habitats, including grasslands, gardens and open forests, but it favours herbaceous host plants rather than grasses or trees. Females lay eggs singly or in groups in the autumn. On emergence the following spring, nymphs begin producing the characteristic spittle ‘nests’ which provide protection against predators and desiccation. Spittle can be seen from April to late June. The nymph moults five times within the spittle before emerging as a free-living adult. Adults are found normally between June and September, but sometimes as late as November. As with all froghoppers, P. spumarius feeds on the liquid contents of the xylem vessels of its host plant. As such, it is a known vector of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa which has caused the death of many olive trees in southern Europe, although this disease has not been detected in the UK. (Harkin & Stewart, 2019)


Classification

Hemiptera
Auchenorrhyncha
Aphrophoridae
-
-
Philaenus
spumarius
(Linnaeus 1758)

Synonymy

Philaenus leucophthalma (Linnaeus, 1758)
Philaenus spumarius pallidus (Linnaeus, 1758)
Ptyelus spumarius (Linnaeus, 1758)
Philaneus spumarius (Linnaeus, 1758)
Cicada lateralis Linnaeus, 1758
Cicada leucocephala Linnaeus, 1758
Cicada spumarius Linnaeus, 1758
? pallidus Linnaeus, 1758
Cercopis lineata Fabricius, 1781
Ptyelus spumarius fasciatus (Fabricius, 1787)
Cercopis fasciata Fabricius, 1787
Philaenus spumarius marginella (Fabricius, 1794)
? marginellus Fabricius, 1794
Aphrophora apicalis Germar, 1821
Ptyelus spumarius apicallis (Germar, 1821)
Philaenus spumarius ustulatus Puton, 1875
Ptyelus spumarius ustulatus (Puton, 1875)
Philaenus spumarius rufescens Melichar, 1896

Common Names (full list)

Allmän spottstrit
Source: Dyntaxa. Svensk taxonomisk databas
Almindelig skumcikade
Source: National checklist of all species occurring in Denmark
Cercope des prés
Source: Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)
Cuckoo-spit insect
Source: United Kingdom Species Inventory (UKSI)
Meadow froghopper
Source: Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)
Meadow spittlebug
Source: Catalogue of Life - June 2021
Meadow spittlebug
Source: Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS)
Schuimbeestje
Source: Checklist Dutch Species Register - Nederlands Soortenregister
Schuimbeestje, spuugbeestje
Source: Belgian Species List
Skumcikade
Source: National checklist of all species occurring in Denmark
Spuugbeestje
Source: Checklist Dutch Species Register - Nederlands Soortenregister
Vanlig spottstrit
Source: Dyntaxa. Svensk taxonomisk databas
Wiesen-schaumzikade
Source: Catalogue of Life - June 2021
Wiesenschaumzikade
Source: Taxon list of Auchenorrhyncha from Germany compiled in the context of the GBOL project
Wiesenschaumzikade
Source: Taxon list of animals with German names (worldwide) compiled at the SMNS

Additional Images

Images provided by GBIF data providers. We cannot verify that identifications are correct.


Worldwide Distribution

Philaenus spumarius is a common across Europe, Asia and North America. Specimens have also been recorded in New Zeland.

Asia
Europe
North America

Distribution point data provided by GBIF.

UK Status: Present

The Meadow Spittlebug or Common Froghopper (Philaenus spumarius) is an extremely common species with a widespread distribution across Britain and Ireland. 

Pest Status

Economic Crops

Olive
Grape
Ornamentals

As with all froghoppers, P. spumarius feeds on the liquid contents of the xylem vessels of its host plant. As such, it is a known vector of the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa which has caused the death of many olive trees in southern Europe, although this disease has not been detected in the UK. (Harkin & Stewart, 2019)

Plant Diseases

Bois Noir 16SrXII-A (Stolbur group)
Lavina, A., Sabate, J., Batlle, A. 2006 Spread and transmission of Bois noir phytoplasma in two regions of Spain.

Olive Quick Decline Syndrome


GALLERY



TAGS
Aphrophoridae Asia Cercopoidea Europe Grape North America Olive Ornamentals Philaenus Bois Noir (BN) Olive Quick Decline Syndrome (OQDS)
RESOURCES

CITATION
Philaenus spumarius (Linnaeus 1758): Wilson M. R. & Turner J. A. 2021. Insect Vectors of Plant Disease. Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales. Available online at http://insectvectors.science/vector/1804. [ Accessed:  19/06/2021 ].
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