Establishment of the sea grape flatid, Petrusa epilepsis (Hemiptera: Fulgoroidea: Flatidae), in Florida.
The sea grape flatid, Petrusa epilepsis (Kirkaldy) (Hemiptera: Flatidae) is a polyphagous, widespread planthopper in the Caribbean that infests common ornamental plants, as well as some of agricultural importance. In 2015, P. epilepsis was found in Florida for the first time, and was confirmed to be established in 2017 by the detection of eggs and nymphs on various ornamental plants located at the University of Florida's Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center in Davie, Florida, USA. In this study, 9 new host plants are reported with 1 representing a new host family (Araliaceae). Additionally, the presence of adults, eggs, and nymphs of various sizes suggests that there are overlapping generations. Molecular analysis reveals no genetic variation of the COI gene. This study records establishment of another invasive species that has the potential to become a pest due to the large number of ornamental plants that are grown in South Florida that could serve as hosts of P. epilepsis elsewhere in Florida and the Caribbean.