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Psyllids and lerps

(Leaf-eating insects and their secretions)

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Psyllids are a category of insects feeding on leaves of a variety of trees. Their sugary secretions are called lerps. Both are a food source for some species of birds (also e.g. for ants).

Psyllid infestation on the leaves of an Emubush, in this case Eremophila longifolia; the brown spots are the insects, the white bubbles are their sugary secretions which they use as a protective shell

Psyllids are often found on the underside of leaves

They can also live on twigs, as shown here; their secretions can be liquid (see the droplet in front of the insect)...

... or crystalline, as this one that has been picked up by a Striped Honeyeater

Here another example of partly liquid sugary secretions

Eucalypt leaf covered with lerps

Many bird species will take both psyllids and lerps, whereas some miners, escpecially Bell Miners, will take only lerps and leave the psyllids behind, which then live another day to do more damage to their host tree.

Here a Noisy Miner can be seen picking lerps off the underside of eucalypt leaves