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Two-Lined Spittlebug - Prosapia bicincta

Two-Lined Spittlebug - Prosapia bicincta
Sand Springs, Osage County, Oklahoma, USA
June 5, 2007
Size: 3/8"+

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Two-Lined Spittlebug - Prosapia bicincta Two-Lined Spittlebug - Prosapia bicincta

Spittlebug reflex bleeding
Andy Hamilton is correct. This photo of the spittlebug Prosapia bicincta is an excellent illustration of a phenomenon called reflex bleeding. When molested, spittlebugs of the Subfamily Cercopinae release a yellow odoriferous fluid from their foot pads. This is analogous to the more widely recognized bleeding of yellow smelly fluid from lady beetles. As in lady beetles, spittlebug reflex bleeding is often associated with bright warning coloration, in this case evident in both the crimson underside and the black and orange-striped topside of the specimen illustrated. Prosapia bicincta nymphs live near the soil line on grass roots. Adults damage grasses, but they often move to redbuds and hollies.

Prosapia bicincta
The evenly crimson underside is characteristic of this species. The yellow droplets on the feet seem to be "reflex bleeding" which exposes noxious defensive fumes to the air when the insect is alarmed.

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