This is not a very common sight …seeing a spittlebug nymph outside of its namesake protective white glob of spittle. Spittlebug nymphs create a foamy (spit-like) mass as a form of protection. Inside the spittle, they hide from the view of predators and parasites. The goop they form from their waste provides both thermal and moisture control (so the nymph does not dry up). The spittle also has an acrid taste, deterring predators. Once the spittlebug becomes an adult, it leaves the goo behind and continues its diet of plant sap out in the open.
Photo by Glenn Marangelo on 5/26/20 in Missoula, MT.