Ecology and genetic structure of the invasive spotted lanternfly Lycorma delicatula in Japan where its distribution is slowly expanding.
Lycorma delicatula has expanded its distribution from China to Japan, Korea, and the USA, causing significant economic damage to vineyards in the latter two countries. However, in Japan, L. delicatula has long been limited to the Hokuriku region, central Japan, and no significant damage to crops has been reported since it was first reported there in 2009. Manipulation experiments and field observations in the Hokuriku region, where winter precipitation is extremely high, revealed that egg numbers and hatchability were significantly reduced in exposed places, especially when wax was excluded from the egg mass. Phylogenetic analysis showed that the population in Japan could be divided into at least two groups. Most L. delicatula samples from Hokuriku formed a clade with those from northwestern China. Samples from Okayama, where the distribution of L. delicatula was recently confirmed, had the same haplotype as those from central China, Korea, and the USA. These results suggest that environmental factors and genetic characteristics of L. delicatula are involved in the relatively slow expansion of its distribution in Hokuriku. Conversely, in Okayama, where precipitation is relatively low, the rapidly increasing haplotype in Korea and the USA was detected, leading to concerns that its distribution will expand further.