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Species L. Delicatula
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The spotted lanternfly ( Lycorma Delicatula ) is originally native to parts of China, India, Vietnam, and Taiwan. It is a planthopper, belonging to the subfamily Aphaeninae and is approximately 25 mm long and 12 mm wide. It was originally described by Adam White in 1845 as Aphaena delicatula with habitat outside of Nankin, China.
In September 2014, it was first recorded in the United States, and as of 2020 it is an invasive species in the Delaware Valley, northern Delaware, eastern Maryland, eastern Pennsylvania, southwestern New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, northern Virginia, Ohio and Canada.
Adult lanternflies have a black head and gray-brown forewings adorned with the eponymous black spots. When resting, the crimson hindwings are partially visible through the semi-translucent forewings, giving the lanternfly a red cast. Neatly spaced black rectangular markings color the tips of the forewings in a pattern sometimes likened to brick and mortar. In flight, the spotted lanternfly displays red hind wings with black spots on the proximal third, a white wedge in the middle of the wing, and a solid black wing tip. The abdomen is yellowish with black and white bands on the top and bottom.
Females have a set of red valvifers at the distal end of the abdomen, and when gravid , the female abdomen swells to the point where they find it difficult to fly. The lanternfly is a strong jumper and uses its wings to assist these jumps rather than making sustained flights. In traditional Chinese medicine, the spotted lanternfly is believed to be poisonous, and is used topically for relief from swelling.
The spotted lanternfly has piercing-sucking mouthparts that are adapted to feeding from plant stems. - L. delicatula feeds on woody and non-woody plants, piercing the phloem tissue of foliage and young stems with specialized mouthparts, and sucking the sap. The sugary waste fluid they produce coats leaves and stems, and this can encourage mold growth.
The adults of Lycorma delicatula rely largely on camouflage and the coloration of their wings to defend against predators. The bright red warning coloration of the hindwings is used to ward off predators. When disturbed, Lycorma delicatula flashes its wings open to reveal the bright, contrasting colors of the hindwings, to startle potential predators and warn them that the insect is chemically defended. Adults use cytotoxins as chemical defenses to deter predators. These are acquired through feeding from host plants, mainly the tree of heaven, Ailanthus altissima.