A method for a long-term marking of spotted lanternfly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) using a stable isotope of nitrogen.
Developing a lifelong marking method for Lycorma delicatula (White, 1845) is crucial to investigate ecological processes. Here we validate a marking method using stable isotope enrichment (15N) of host plants to track spotted lanternfly (SLF), an invasive species causing economic damage on grapes, hardwood forest and landscape tree species. To validate this method, we first determined the isotope dosage to be sprayed on the host plants and subsequently detected in SLF. Second, we examined whether 15N mark remains detectable from the nymphal to adult stage. We demonstrated that two stable isotope dosages applied to the host plants were assimilated by the insect and equally detectable in the exoskeleton, wings, and mature eggs ready to be oviposited. This safe and reliable method can be used to examine fundamental processes of the biology and ecology of SLF that range from dietary resources and resource allocation to food-web structure and dispersal patterns.