Some people may think it is a moth but it's really a plant hopper known as the spotted lanternfly, Lycorma deliculata (White) and is a member of the order Hemiptera, family Fulgoridae. Its normal distribution is in eastern Asia, China, India, and Vietnam and has been found in Japan and South Korea. The adults are quite colorful with a black head, grayish black spotted forewings and reddish black spotted hind wings (see Figure 1). Adults are approximately 1 inch in length and a half an inch in width. Young juveniles are black with white spots and may be confused with second instar brown marmorated stink bugs (see Figures 2 and 3) As they get older they become red and black with white spots (see Figure 4).
The spotted lanternfly is known to feed on more than 70 plant species including cultivated grapes, fruit trees, and hardwood trees. One tree of particular importance is Ailatus altissima (P. Mill) or the "Tree of Heaven." (see Figure 5) This widespread invasive tree introduced from Asia grows throughout New Jersey and must be fed on by the spotted lanternfly to survive. Tree of Heaven typically grows in sunny areas along highways or disturbed habitat in clumps. As do all plant hoppers, the spotted lanternfly has sucking mouthparts that it inserts into plant tissues to remove the fluids it needs to survive.
This insect was accidentally introduced into Pennsylvania and was confirmed in the state September of 2014. At first it was also found in Berks County, however, today it has been collected from Lehigh, Northampton, Bucks, Montgomery, and Chester County. Cities in these counties where Spotted Lanternfly has been found are currently under quarantine meaning that live Spotted Lanternfly and any material or object that can spread the insect cannot be moved from the quarantine area.
Additional information regarding this insect can be found at:
If you think you seen or collected a spotted lanternfly please report it to the New Jersey Department of Agriculture and the Department of Entomology at the Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
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