The Spotted lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is a beautiful insect (albeit not a fly) that is, unfortunately, being a nuisance in some states in the Eastern USA where humans have unwittingly spread it. This species is native to China and is considered invasive in North America. You can read about the Spotted lanternfly and its impact here.
When Pennsylvania State University recently approached me to illustrate this insect’s life cycle, feeding behavior, and distribution, I was intrigued. I was excited about the chance to illustrate a beautiful insect, keenly interested in learning more about the species (as I’m sure it’ll expand its range to Ontario in the coming years), and eager to help increase public awareness about this insect.
A few of these newly-completed illustrations are below, and the rest may be found at this link.
This illustration shows, the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 4th instars; the adult; the adult covering her eggs with a protective coating; and a partially-covered egg mass with the coating cracked from age.
This illustration shows one of the Spotted lanternfly’s favorite food sources – the tree of heaven (Ailanthus altissima) – though there are many other tree species that satisfy its appetite. At the top left is a healthy compound leaf, while 4th instar nymphs and adults feed on the wilted and flagging leaf below it. Then we see a close-up of a feeding adult; the feeding adult with sap from the tree entering the insect and exiting as honeydew, which lands on a leaflet below; a yellow jacket is attracted to the honeydew; and the leaflets exhibit a sooty mold after having been covered with honeydew.
Spotted lanternfly distribution in Eastern North America (as of 2020), including Pennsylvania, New York, Ohio, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, Connecticut, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Counties colored red indicate presence of the insect.