Footprints and ootheca of Lycorma delicatula influence host-searching and -acceptance of the egg-parasitoid Anastatus orientalis.
The spotted lanternfly, Lycorma delicatula White (1845) (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae), is an invasive insect that was first reported in North America in Berks County, Pennsylvania, in 2014. It is a polyphagous phloem feeder that attacks over 70 plant species, threatening the agricultural, lumber, and ornamental industries of North America. Infestations of the pest have been reported in several U.S. counties, and a lack of endemic predators and parasitoids feeding on L. delicatula suggests a release from natural enemies in the invaded range. An egg-parasitoid Anastatus orientalis (Hymenoptera: Eupelmidae) was reported attacking L. delicatula at high rates in its native range and may play a key role in reducing its populations there. To better understand the foraging behavior of A. orientalis, a series of behavioral experiments were conducted to determine successful parasitism and behavioral responses to traces left by adult L. delicatula and to the oothecae which cover their eggs. Our results suggest that wasps detected chemical traces left by L. delicatula adults while walking on surfaces and exhibited a strong arrestment response. Moreover, wasps preferred to oviposit in egg masses with intact oothecae. The implications of these findings are herein discussed with regard to the exploitation of host kairomones by foraging wasps, as well as to its ability to overcome host structural defenses.