Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Worldwide feeding host plants of spotted lanternfly, with significant additions from North America.

Abstract

The spotted lanternfly Lycorma delicatula (White) is an invasive insect spreading throughout southeast Asia and eastern North America. The rapid spread of this species is facilitated by the prevalence of its preferred host, tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle), as well as its use of many other host plants. While the spotted lanternfly has been previously reported to use over 65 plant species, most of these reports are from Asia and may not be applicable in North America. Additionally, many of the known hosts have not been specified as feeding hosts or as egg laying substrates. To better understand the potential impacts of this invasive insect on natural and cultivated systems in North America, we reviewed records from published and unpublished results and observations of host plant use by spotted lanternfly. We aggregated 172 host plant records worldwide and found feeding behaviors associated with 103 plant taxa across 33 families and 17 orders, 20 of which were not previously known to be associated with SLF and 15 of which were not confirmed as feeding hosts. North American records account for 56 of these taxa which include native, cultivated, and nonnative species. As a result, the spotted lanternfly has the potential to impact a wide assortment of ecosystems throughout its potential range and its North American distribution may not be limited by the presence of tree of heaven.