Philaenus spumarius (Meadow Spittlebug, Homoptera: Cercopoidea) is a cosmopolitan generalist insect that feeds on a wide repertoire of host plants in the field. We studied density and growth of Meadow Spittlebugs on a range of host plants on Kent Island, a boreal island in the Bay of Fundy, NB, Canada. The highest spittlebug densities were on Cirsium arvense (Canadian Thistle), although spittlebugs had larger body sizes on Solidago rugosa (Rough-stemmed Goldenrod) and Anaphalis margaritacea (Pearly Everlasting). We fertilized plots of Rough-stemmed Goldenrod in the field over 3 weeks to examine the effects of plant quality on development of Meadow Spittlebugs. Following fertilization, there were fewer nymphs present in fertilized plots than in unfertilized plots, indicating faster nymph maturation to adulthood on fertilized plants. This study offers an initial report of the host plants used by Meadow Spittlebugs in northeastern boreal habitat, variation in density and performance of the species on a range of host plants, and the effects of plant fertilization on spittlebug life history.
Wood, Zoe M. and Jones, Patricia L., "The Effects of Host Plant Species and Plant Quality on Growth and Development in the Meadow Spittlebug (Philaenus spumarius) on Kent Island in the Bay of Fundy" (2020). Biology Faculty Publications. 188.