Hoppers of North Carolina:
Spittlebugs, Leafhoppers, Treehoppers, and Planthoppers
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APHROPHORIDAE Members: NC Records

Aphrophora cribrata - Pine Spittlebug



© Kyle Kittelberger- Pine Spittlebugs mating,
side view

© Ken Childs- side view

© Paul Scharf- early instar nymph

© Ken Kneidel- pine spittle
Taxonomy
Family: APHROPHORIDAE
Identification
Online Photographs: BugGuide                                                                                  
Description: The Pine Spittlebug has the most inflated face of any spittlebug, sticking out in front of the flat upper surface ("crown") of the head; this gives the spittlebug's face a swollen appearance and a pointed head, distinctive to this species and a useful characteristic to separate A. cribrata from other members of this genus which have rounded heads. In addition, the black and white wing pattern/markings are distinctive; the white marks are spotted in appearance and form a disjunct upside down "V" with an apex facing the head. Wings are heavily pitted, characteristic of members of this genus. Males are typically smaller than females, ranging from 8.8 to 10 mm, while females are 9.1-11.5 mm. BG

Nymphs are dark, with early instars having a dark head and thorax and a pale brown abdomen. Nymphs show the pronounced jutting head characteristic of adults; the head is longer than the first segment of the thorax (whereas in A. saratogensis, the head is shorter). Older nymphs in late instars are more of a mottled brown, but still show the pronounced head.

Distribution in North Carolina
County Map: Clicking on a county returns the records for the species in that county.
Out of State Record(s)
Distribution: Found throughout the eastern United States, south to Georgia, and north into Canada to Saskatchewan. BG
Abundance: Locally abundant in white pine woods, likely more abundant and widespread in pine forests.
Seasonal Occurrence
Jan
Feb
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Habitats and Life History
Habitats: Locally abundant in white pine woods. BG
Plant Associates: Pines (Pinus sp.), including Scots pine (P. sylvestris), Pitch pine (P. rigida) and White pine (O. strobus); also introduced Norway spruce (Picea abies). The feeding punctures of this species are frequently invaded by Scotch pine blight or sooty mold, typically leading to tree mortality. Native trees are more resistant to damage from this spittlebug than introduced tree species. (Hamilton, 1982)
Behavior:
Comment: As the name suggests, this species creates spittle around the young. This spittle can be found among the needles of white pine.

NOTE: For decades, what is now identified as A. cribrata was identified as A. parallela. All the old literature references for paralella are therefore synonymous with A. cribrata. In 1982, a paper was published by A. Hamilton saying that the common eastern pine spittlebugs with nymphs on the pines is properly A. cribrata (Walker) and that a different conifer spittlebug is properly identified as A. parallela (Say). The current, non-synonymous A. parallela is also found on confers, namely spruce and tamarack, and is known as the spruce spittlebug. This nymphs of A. parallela proper live somewhere in the understory, with site and host largely unknown; some nymphs have been raised from Balsam fir though. It is unclear how far south A. parallela occurs, it could potentially occur on Fraser fir in the mountains. All of the spittlebug nymphs on pines in the east though belong to A. cribrata. [pers. comm. Vinton Stanton] Therefore, all older records of A. parallela listed for North Carolina have been subsequently entered here as A. cribrata.

Status: Native
Global and State Rank:
See also Habitat Account for General Pine Forests and Woodlands

Species Photo Gallery for Aphrophora cribrata Pine Spittlebug

Photo by: Hunter Phillips, Cathy Songer
Onslow Co.
Comment: unid_spittlebug
Photo by: Hunter Phillips, Cathy Songer
Onslow Co.
Comment: unid_spittlebug
Photo by: Hunter Phillips, Cathy Songer
Onslow Co.
Comment: unid_spittlebug
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Scotland Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn
Durham Co.
Comment: spittle
Photo by: Erich P. Hofmann
Craven Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Erich P. Hofmann
Craven Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Erich P. Hofmann
Craven Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Rob Van Epps
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: nymph
Photo by: Rob Van Epps
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: nymph
Photo by: Rob Van Epps
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment: nymph
Photo by: Margarita Lankford
Orange Co.
Comment: https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/45192123
Photo by: Harrison Abernethy
Wake Co.
Comment: Scores of these on pine saplings
Photo by: Harrison Abernethy
Wake Co.
Comment: Scores of these on pine saplings
Photo by: Cindy Darnell
Durham Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Cindy Darnell
Durham Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Steve Hall
Orange Co.
Comment: Observed at moth sheet
Photo by: G. Schneider, V. Jones, T. Kittle
Iredell Co.
Comment: LANO
Photo by: Mark Shields
Onslow Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Mark Shields
Onslow Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Ken Kneidel
Mecklenburg Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Kyle Kittelberger, Brian Bockhahn, Paul Scharf
Halifax Co.
Comment: mixed hardwood forest habitat; a mating pair
Photo by: Harry Wilson
Wake Co.
Comment: mixed hardwood and pine habitat
Photo by: Bockhahn, Scharf
Burke Co.
Comment: LAJA - 2014 BioBlitz, NYMPH, Found in Spittle on Pine Tree
Photo by: T. DeSantis
Camden Co.
Comment:
Photo by: F. Williams
Gates Co.
Comment:
Photo by: L. Amos
Warren Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Bockhahn, Scharf
Burke Co.
Comment: LAJA - 2014 BioBlitz, NYMPH, Found in Spittle on Pine Tree
Photo by: Ken Childs
Out Of State Co.
Comment:
Photo by: Paul Scharf
Warren Co.
Comment: Attracted To Black Light
Photo by: Paul Scharf
Warren Co.
Comment: