Dogwood Spittlebug – Clastopera proteus

Dogwood Spittlebug: Appearance, Territory, Damage and Life

Latin name: Clastoptera proteus

Appearances: The black and yellow patterns on the mature dogwood spittlebug are recognizable. characterized by a distinctive yellow-and-black pattern that creates bands over the head and only one yellow patch on each forewing, setting it apart from all other species of the proteus group. From above, dark specimens of this species resemble male Clastoptera testaceas, but they differ in their facial markings, which in C. proteus include a black band across the upper part of the face but not in testacea.

Host plants: The adults consume dogwoods as well as blueberries, farkleberries, deer berries, huckleberries, and other plants of the genus Vaccinium, while the nymphs (juveniles) feed on the sap of dogwoods (Cornus spp.).

Territory: The dogwood spittlebug, or Clastoptera proteus, is a species of spittlebug in the Clastopteridae family. In North America, you can find it. They are also found in Canada and the United States.

Damage insect caused: The unattractive development of blackened foliage caused by sooty molds colonizing on the spittle that is flung onto the leaves from the adults is the damage that they cause.

Life cycle and habits: The frothy, moist mass of “spittle” that surrounds the nymphs as they consume the sap from their host plants is what makes spittlebugs famous. The nymph, an insect in its immature stage, produces spittle as a defense against natural predators and desiccation.

Only dogwoods, blueberries, and buckeyes are food sources for the dogwood spittlebug. Eggs hatch in the late spring after spending the winter hidden beneath the twigs’ bark. The nymphs with their spittle mounds can be seen at the intersections of stems or leaves in June and early July. Late in July, adult spittlebugs emerge and feed on the same plants that the nymphs do. During the fall, females insert eggs into the stems through holes.