Saliva plays an important role in host plant–phloem-feeding insect molecular interactions. To better elucidate the role of insect saliva, a series of experiments were conducted to establish if catalase from the salivary glands of the brown planthopper (BPH; Nilaparvata lugens Stål) was secreted into rice host plant tissue during feeding. Catalase is the main enzyme that decomposes hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) at high concentrations. H2O2 is a part of the free radicals system that mediates important physiological roles including signalling and defence. Previous studies have suggested that H2O2 is involved in the rice endogenous response to BPH feeding. If, the BPH secretes catalase into host plant tissue this will counter the effects of H2O2, from detoxification to interfering with plant signalling and defence mechanisms. When BPHs were fed on a hopper-resistant rice variety for 24 h, catalase activity in the salivary glands increased 3.5-fold compared with hoppers fed on a susceptible rice variety. Further supporting evidence of the effects of BPH catalase was demonstrated by immunodetection analyses where results from two independent sources: BPH-infested rice tissue and BPH-probed artificial diets, suggest that the BPH secretes catalase-like protein during feeding. The possible physiological roles of BPH-secreted catalase are discussed.