Fidelity and timing of spotted lanternfly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae) attack patterns on ornamental trees in the suburban landscape.
Invasive herbivores can have dramatic impacts in new environments by altering landscape composition, displacing natives, and causing plant decline and mortality. One of the most recent invasive insects in the United States, the spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula), has the potential to cause substantial economic and environmental impacts in agriculture and forestry. Spotted lanternfly exhibits a broad host range, yet reports of late-season movement from the surrounding landscapes onto select tree species in suburban environments have been reported. In this study, we aimed to evaluate the fidelity of spotted lanternfly attack on specific, individual trees within the same species during this movement period. In 2018 and 2019, we observed that individual red (Acer rubrum L. [Sapindales: Sapindaceae]) and silver maple (Acer saccharinum L. [Sapindales: Sapindaceae]) trees were preferentially attacked over other nearby trees of the same species. Foliar elemental composition was a good predictor of spotted lanternfly attack numbers, indicating that individual variation in nutrients may influence spotted lanternfly attraction to and/or retention on maple trees. Our data also confirm reports of late-season movement from surrounding landscapes throughout autumn. Collectively, our results show that spotted lanternfly exhibits some fidelity to particular trees in the landscape during this movement period. While other potential mechanisms also contribute to host plant selection by spotted lanternfly, our data show that host nutritional profiles influence spotted lanternfly infestation of suburban trees at the landscape scale. Our data establish that late-season infestations of suburban trees by spotted lanternfly occurred and that variation in host quality should be further considered in the management of this invasive insect pest.