spotted lanternfly

spotted lanternfly, common name for a planthopper, Lycorma delicatula, an insect that is native to China, India, and Vietnam, and is an introduced agricultural pest in Korea and the United States. The adult spotted lanternfly is c.1 in. (2.5 cm) long, with a black head and legs and grayish forewings with black spots; the hindwings, visible in flight, are red (with black spots), white, and black. Adults are strong jumpers but weak flyers. The younger nymphs (the immature forms) are small, round, wingless, and black with white spots; older nymphs have red patches.

Nymphs and adults have piercing, sucking mouth parts, and feed on sap in the foliage and young stems of many plants. The sweet substance, or honeydew, that they excrete can promote mold growth, ruining fruit and stunting or killing plants. They are a threat to the grape, orchard, logging, and nursery-plant industries, and can also damage ornamental landscape plants. Adults may need to feed on ailanthus trees in order to reproduce. The insect was discovered in SE Pennsylvania in 2014 and has since been reported in some nearby states.

The spotted lanternfly is classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Homiptera, family Fulgoridae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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