Lerp (biology)

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Red lerps (Austrochardia acaciae) on Acacia aneura, Central Australia

In biology, a lerp is a structure of crystallized honeydew produced by larvae of psyllid bugs as a protective cover. These animals are commonly referred to as lerp insects, of which there are over 300 species in Australia.[1]

Lerps are energy rich, consisting mostly of starch, with some proteins and fats.[1] They are eaten by flying foxes, possums and birds such as pardalotes and honeyeaters.[1]

The word is derived from the Australian Aboriginal language Wemba-Wemba.[2] Lerps were traditionally eaten by Indigenous people, and could be stored as dry balls for future use.[3]

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References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Lerps - One of nature's sweet offerings". Land for Wildlife. 2019-08-07. Retrieved 2021-10-10.
  2. ^ Australian Aboriginal Words in English. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. 2006 [1990]. p. 103. ISBN 9780195540734.
  3. ^ Faast, Renate; Clarke, Philip A.; Taylor, Gary S.; Salagaras, Renée L.; Weinstein, Philip (2020-09-01). "Indigenous Use of Lerps in Australia: So Much More Than a Sweet Treat". Journal of Ethnobiology. 40 (3): 328–347. doi:10.2993/0278-0771-40.3.328. ISSN 0278-0771.