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Sticky Foam Excreted From Bug's Anus May Inspire New Skin Care Products


By Jess ThomsonScience Reporter
Animals have some wacky ways of protecting themselves from predators, but one bug's defense mechanism is up there with the most ingenious—and grossest.

The European alder spittlebug, a tiny winged insect also known as a "froghopper", farts out a foamy substance that forms a protective jacket, a new paper in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface reveals.

This foam has some weird and wonderful properties, which may even inspire new skin care products.

The bugs create the foam during their nymph phase, which is the stage of development before they reach full adulthood. During this phase, they are vulnerable to being eaten by predators, and the anal foam acts as a sticky trap that protects them from harm.

"Because the foam desiccates as fast as water, predators once captured struggle to free from drying foam, becoming stickier," the authors wrote in the paper. "The present study confirms that adhesion is one of the numerous foam characteristics resulting in multifunctional effects, which promote spittlebugs' survival."

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