Where Did Spotted Lanternflies Come From: Unraveling the Mystery of Their Origin

Spotted lanternflies, scientifically known as Lycorma delicatula, are an invasive insect species that have garnered much attention in recent years. These pests, belonging to the Hemiptera order and Fulgoridae family, are native to Southeast Asia but have found their way to other parts of the world, causing significant concern for agriculture and natural ecosystems.

First discovered in the United States in 2014, they were initially detected in eastern Pennsylvania. Since then, their presence has posed a daunting issue for various plants and trees, as they feed on a wide range of hosts, including fruit, ornamental, and woody trees. With their preference for Tree of Heaven, their rapid spread has become a cause for alarm.

Understanding the origin of spotted lanternflies and how they reached the United States is crucial in finding ways to mitigate their impact. Identifying their native habitat, typical hosts, and behavior allows researchers to develop effective strategies for managing their rapid spread and reducing the damage they inflict on agriculture and ecosystems.

Origins and Identification

Origins in Asia

The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is native to regions in China, Vietnam, and Korea. It has since become an invasive species in countries like India and parts of Southeast Asia.

Identification Features

Physical Characteristics

Spotted Lanternflies have distinct physical features that help with identification. They include:

  • Grey wings with black spots
  • Bright red underwings with black spots
  • White spots in their red, wingless nymph stage
  • Adults grow up to an inch long

Life Stages

There are different stages in the life of a Spotted Lanternfly. Some of these stages are:

  1. Egg Masses: Brownish seed-like deposits with dry cracked appearance. Found on plant stems and tree bark.

  2. Nymphs: Developing stage of the insect, initially bright red with black and white spots.

  3. Adults: Flying leaf-hopper with distinctive red and grey wings.

When observing possible Spotted Lanternflies, you can compare their features to other insects, like the flying leaf-hopper. This will help you determine if you have encountered a Spotted Lanternfly.

Feature Spotted Lanternfly Flying Leaf-Hopper
Wing Color Grey with black spots (closed wings) Varies, often green or brown
Underwing Color Bright red with black spots N/A
Nymph Color Bright red with black and white spots Varies, often green or brown with distinct patterns
Adult Size Up to 1 inch Smaller than Spotted Lanternfly

Remember to stay vigilant in your environment and report any sightings of Spotted Lanternflies to help control their population and protect native flora.

Life Cycle and Habitats

Life Cycle

The life cycle of spotted lanternflies consists of four stages: eggs, nymphs, and adults. In late fall, they lay their eggs on a variety of surfaces, including tree bark, plant stems, and even non-living materials. These eggs hatch in the spring, releasing tiny nymphs that feed on sap and grow in size.

As the nymphs mature, they go through several instar stages, shedding their exoskeletons and developing wings. They become adults by late summer and are capable of flight, allowing them to move to new host plants before laying their eggs. The adults die off in winter, leaving their eggs to overwinter and restart the cycle in the spring.

Preferred Habitats

Spotted lanternflies prefer to feed on a wide range of plants and trees. Here are some of their favorite hosts:

  • Tree of heaven: Their most preferred host, invasive in the US
  • Grapevines: Important for wine production and agriculture
  • Hops: Essential in beer brewing
  • Woody trees: Including maple, birch, river birch, and walnut
  • Fruit trees: Such as apple

Their feeding damages these plants and trees, leading to reduced yields, weakened trees, and even death. These pests are a threat to many economically important crops like grapes, grapevine, and hops, as well as ornamental and woody trees in our natural environment. Be cautious and help manage the spread of spotted lanternflies to protect these valuable resources.

US Invasion

First Sightings

The Spotted Lanternfly (Lycorma delicatula) is an invasive insect native to China, India, and Vietnam. You might be interested to learn that it was first detected in the United States in 2014, specifically in Berks County, Pennsylvania1. Since then, it has quickly spread to other states.

Despite its name, the Spotted Lanternfly is not a fly but belongs to the planthopper family2. It poses a significant threat to agriculture and the environment, attacking over 70 woody plant species3.

Spreading Across States

Over the years, the Spotted Lanternfly has reached various states, including:

  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Virginia
  • North Carolina
  • Connecticut
  • Indiana
  • Massachusetts
  • West Virginia

Organizations such as the New York State Integrated Pest Management Program have been working to monitor and mitigate the spread of this invasive species4. Quarantines have been put in place to help slow the spread of the insect5.

In summary, the Spotted Lanternfly’s invasion of the United States began in Pennsylvania in 2014 and has since spread to various states across the country. Efforts are being made to control its population and reduce the impact on agriculture and the environment.

Economic Impact

The spotted lanternfly, native to China, poses a significant threat to various industries. Its arrival in the United States has been especially detrimental to the agriculture sector, impacting vital crops and grapevines.

Farmers, specifically those growing soybean crops, have had to cope with the onslaught of these invasive insects. The lanternflies feed on the plants, thus inhibiting their growth and causing a decline in crop yield. Consequently, this affects not only the income of the farmers but also the overall supply of soybeans in the market.

Grapevines are another victim of the spotted lanternfly’s hunger. The insects feed on the sap, stripping the vines of essential nutrients and reducing their ability to produce quality grapes. This has negative ramifications for the wine industry, as it damages both the quantity and quality of the grapes used in wine production.

To better understand the economic impact, let’s consider a comparison table:

Industry Impact Examples
Agriculture Reduction in crop yield, income loss for farmers Soybean crops
Wine production Lower quality and quantity of grapes, profit loss Grapevines

Additionally, combating the spotted lanternfly invasion requires costly measures, including increased use of pesticides, research, and public awareness campaigns. Prevention and control efforts, though necessary, can strain the resources of the affected industries and communities.

In summary, the spotted lanternfly’s presence in the United States has significant economic repercussions. Their feeding habits harm crucial agricultural sectors, leading to lost income and overall economic strain.

Prevention and Management

Prevention Methods

To protect your area from the invasive spotted lanternfly, it’s essential to be vigilant and take preventive measures. Here are some methods to help minimize the risk of their spread:

  • Inspect vehicles and outdoor items: Check your cars, trailers, and other outdoor gear (like grills and firewood) to ensure there are no hitchhiking lanternflies, eggs, or the mud-like egg masses.
  • Trim and monitor plants: Keep an eye on the trees and plants in your area, particularly maple and birch trees, two common hosts. Regularly trim and maintain your plants to minimize the lanternflies’ food resources.
  • Report sightings: If you spot a lanternfly, contact authorities like the USDA or local extension offices. They’ll provide guidance and help prevent further spread of the species.

Management Techniques

Once the spotted lanternfly infestation has arrived, taking quick and decisive action is crucial. Employ a combination of methods for effective pest management:

  • Physical removal: Handpick and kill the spotted lanternflies whenever possible. You can also scrape off the mud-like egg masses from tree trunks or other surfaces.
  • Pesticides: Apply approved pesticides to trees and plants where spotted lanternflies are present. Be sure to follow guidelines when using pesticides, as improper application can harm other species or the environment.
  • Natural predators: Introduce natural enemies such as soybean or native wasp species that are known to prey on spotted lanternfly eggs and nymphs. However, consult with experts before introducing any new species into your ecosystem.

Remember, early prevention and timely management practices are critical in combating the spread of spotted lanternflies and maintaining the health of your local flora and fauna.

Footnotes

  1. https://www.nps.gov/articles/spotted-lanternfly-101.htm

  2. https://www.nps.gov/articles/000/spotted-lanternfly.htm

  3. https://cnr.ncsu.edu/news/2022/03/spotted-lanternfly/

  4. https://home.nps.gov/articles/000/spotted-lanternfly.htm

  5. https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/resources/pests-diseases/hungry-pests/the-threat/spotted-lanternfly/spotted-lanternfly

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Lanternfly from Hong Kong: Longan Chicken

 

Hong Kong bug
Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 5:24 PM
Hello,
I just took this photo yesterday (April 18) on a roadside tree in Hong Kong. These bugs have been appearing for years, but only on this one specific tree. At times I have seen more than five all within plain sight.
They are about 2 inches long from nose to tail. The can fly, but not well, and they move sideways just as easily as backwards and forwards.
I don’t even know where to start looking them up – they look half moth and half beetle.
Thanks
Guy
Mid Levels, Hong Kong

Longan Chicken, a Lanternfly
Longan Chicken, a Lanternfly

Dear Guy,
This is a Lanternfly, an unusual group of insects in the family Fulgoridae.  When we posted another image of this species from Hong Kong in January 2007, we got this species identification:  “Hi Bugman,
I believe that the lanternfly that Alex found in Hong Kong is Pyrops candelaria. The two most “common” Mandarin common names of this lanternfly , if translated literaly to English, is “white wax cicarda” (because of the white, wax-like powders on its eggs), and “longan chicken” (because it feeds on saps of the longan trees (Dimocarpus longan) as well as other fruit trees such as mango, lichi and olive). Pyrops candelaria is easily seen in Hong Kong and SE Asia. Images can be found here ( http://www.pbase.com/bluetitan/pyropscandelaria ) and here ( http://aestheticarthropoda.blogspot.com/2006/12/pyrops-candelaria.html ). (Unfortunately most of the introduction to this lanternfly is in Mandarin, and the second link is the best English description I can find.) hopefully you find it helpful,  Wei-Ting ”  As a side note, we use the compound word Lanternfly, while some websites prefer to split the units and call this insect a Lantern Fly.  That would imply that it is a true fly, which it is not.  We stand firm on the spelling Lanternfly being correct.

Letter 2 – Lanternfly from Brazil

 

AMAZING INSECT FROM AMAZON
Here is an insect I was hoping you could identify for me. It’s found in the rain forest of Brazil along the Amazon River. Thanks so much for any help you can give me. 🙂
Donna Riley

Hi Donna,
This is a Lanternfly, one of the Fulgorid Planthoppers. We are thrilled you send an open wing and a closed wing view.

Thanks SO much for your timely reply. Actually (did I tell you?) the photo was sent to me by a missionary Vaughn Goff whose work is in the Amazon jungle.

Letter 3 – Lanternfly from Australia

 

Australian Lantern Fly
Hi Guys,
Well I told you there were lots of strange new bugs at my new place and this one sure fits the bill. It is a Fulgoridae: Amyclinae, Rentinus dilatatus
or Lantern Fly. It landed on my flyscreen door and let me get a few pictures before clicking once and zooming off into the bushes at great speed. I don’t think you have this guy, a search of the site only turned up one response to lantern fly.
aussietrev
Burnett Region, Queensland

Australian Lanternfly
Australian Lanternfly

Hi Trevor
Thanks for sending us your Australian Lanternfly. Wemay have to try that search, but we think your problem is that Lanternfly is one word. Generally, when fly is attached to another word, it is not a true fly, like Dragonfly or Butterfly, but if it is a separate word, like Crane Fly or Robber Fly, then it is a true fly. A Lanternfly is not a true fly.

Letter 4 – Lanternfly from Belize

 

New Beetle/Moth Species?
Location: Belize
August 8, 2011 9:40 pm
Hi,
I was in Central America, Belize in July 2011 and I was in the jungle of Lamanai and I spotted this beetle/moth.
While I was walking with my girlfriend, this insect flew close to her and it had beautiful blue wings while in flight with an intricate design when on the ground.
Can you help me identify this insect? Our tour guide said he’s never seen such an insect and it MAY be a undiscovered species!
I have attached a photo.
Thanks!
Michael
Signature: Danzer bug

Lanternfly from Belize

Hi Michael,
Online information on tropical species identification can often be quite sketchy and inaccurate.  We can tell you that this is a Fulgorid Planthopper in the family Fulgoridae, and that they are commonly called Lanternflies, but we cannot commit to a species identification.  That might take hours of searching the internet and not produce anything conclusive.

Letter 5 – Lanternfly from Borneo

 

Some bugs from Sabah
Hi
Another delighted newcomer to your site! I took these photos in Sabah, Borneo in Feb this year and from going through your site I think they might be a lanternfly and a snakefly, but it would be good if you knew the species.
Amanda, England

Hi Amanda,
Your Lanternfly from the family Fulgoridae is positively stunning. If we are able (since we have time constraints right now) we will also post your photo of a Dobsonfly. We will try to find out the species, but we don’t think this will be possible without hours and hours of research, and that is time we do not have. Exact Internet identification research is often very difficult for parts of the tropical world.

Letter 6 – Lanternfly from Borneo

 

Borneo Bug
Hi just found your great site! I am living in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, and a friend of mine took these pictures of critters she saw when walking in the Kutai National park near Sangatta. Are they a species of planthopper or treehopper?? The local Indonesian name for them is “Lom Lim”. Any help would be greatly appreciated as books on local bugs are hard to come by out here! Many thanks, keep up the great work
Sara

Hi Sara,
This is a Fulgorid Planthopper. Insects in the family Fulgoridae are sometimes called Lanternflies. That common name dates to an erroneous early belief that tropical species were luminous. These insects suck plant juices.

Letter 7 – Lanternfly from Borneo

 

Lantern Bug from Borneo
Location: Poring Hot Springs, Sabah, Borneo
February 9, 2011 3:35 am
I believe this Lantern Bug seen in Sabah, Borneo, is a Fulgora sp., but can anyone tell me which species?
Signature: Peter Bruce-Jones

Lanternfly

Hi Peter,
We did a search for Lanternfly and Borneo and found a beautiful, rather similar looking insect on the Lost Borneo website that is identified as the genus
Pyrops.  An image web search of that name brought us to a photo on Flickriver that is identified as Pyrops whiteheadi.  We cannot say for certain that that is correct because we do not have a background in entomology, and we know that there is a proliferation of misinformation on the internet.  We are constantly misidentifying some of the photos that we post.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you. I agree wholeheartedly with your point about misinformation on the internet, but I have managed to find some other images of Pyrops whiteheadi which match the one in the link you sent and my image, so I think it is most likely correct. The search has also yielded the the unexpected ID for a mantis I photographed in Borneo too, so doubly thanks!
Best regards,
Peter

Letter 8 – Lanternfly from China

 

Red nosed bug in Chinese school
May 16, 2010
Hi Bugman,
This crazy looking bug flew into my classroom here in China. The kids tried to stamp on him but I managed to save him and pop him back out the window.
I’m intrigued to know what he is, I assumed his name would mention the huge red nose he’s sporting, but I’m not having any luck searching.
Joe in China
Guangzhou, South China

Lanternfly

Hi Joe,
This is a Fulgorid Planthopper, and it is sometimes called a Lanternfly.  This species is Pyrops candelarius, and we located a photo of a mounted specimen on a museum website, and there is a brief description and photo of a living specimen on Wikipedia.

Lanternfly

Letter 9 – Lanternfly from Costa Rica: Phrictus quinquepartitus

 

Interesting Insect from NW Costa Rica
March 31, 2010
I found this beautiful bug sitting on a smooth-barked tree over a stream at mid-elevation in a park at Rincon de la Vieja in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica’s northwest. I truthfully do not know what this beautiful creature is, my friend called it a treehopper or leaf hopper or something but I’m sorry I can’t be of any more help.
Dave
Rincon de la Vieja, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Lanternfly from Costa Rica

Hi Dave,
This is a Fulgorid Planthopper, commonly called a Lanternfly.  We posted a photo of this species this past January, and Piotr Naskrecki identified it as Phrictus quinquepartitus.

Letter 10 – Lanternfly from Ecuador

 

Subject: Is it a moth or a wasp?
Location: Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador (Amazon)
July 12, 2013 1:13 pm
Hi, I was in the jungle in Ecuador. We were in the city of Puyo and this bug flew in at night. It looks like a moth, but I asked and someone said it was a wasp. I can’t find any info about it online. Thanks.
Signature: Jeff

Lanternfly
Lanternfly

Hi Jeff,
This is neither a wasp nor a moth.  It is a Lanternfly or Peanut Headed Bug,
Fulgora laternaria, and there are some local superstitions regarding this unusual relative of Cicadas and Leafhoppers.  Years ago we uncovered the superstion of the Machaca, a local name for the Lanternfly in some areas of South America.  The superstition is that if bitten by a Machaca, a person must have sex within 24 hours, or die.  Though we rarely quote Wikipedia, we cannot resist perpetuating this interesting rumor:  “In several countries, such as Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, there exists the myth that if somebody is bitten by the machaca, he or she must have sex within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death. The popular belief in Bolivia (Santa Cruz de la Sierra) is that it is a dangerous insect dependant on its wing colours but the insect is actually harmless to people.”  Perhaps that is the reason you were informed that this was a wasp.  To the best of our knowledge, Lanternflies do not bite.  When they were initially discovered by westerners, it was believed that they were bioluminescent, hence the name Lanternfly, but in actuality, they do not glow in the dark.

Thank you. Now I understand why I couldn’t find any info on it.

Letter 11 – Lanternfly from Gambia

 

Subject:  Bug ID
Geographic location of the bug:  The Gambia
Date: 01/11/2018
Time: 08:44 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi
I have long wondered what this is, taken in the Gambia in 2008. Not sure if its a bug or a strange moth. I would be grateful if you could help ID it
Thanks
How you want your letter signed:  Richard Heath

Lanternfly

Dear Richard,
This free-living Hemipteran in the family Fulgoridae is commonly called a Lanternfly.  There is a similar looking Lanternfly from Gambia posted to FlickR.

Letter 12 – Lanternfly from Hong Kong is Longan Chicken

 

Subject: Hong Kong Bugs
Location: Hong Kong, Tung Chung N. Park
March 28, 2013 3:14 am
I found this and another in a Hong Kong Park this afternoon after a big thunderstorm.
Signature: johnsohk

Lanternfly or Longan Chicken
Lanternfly or Longan Chicken

Dear johnsohk,
Your insect is a Lanternfly in the family Fulgoridae, and we identified the species in the past as
Pyrops candelaria.  Several years ago a reader informed us that the Mandarin name for this insect is translated as the Longan Chicken because it feeds on the sap of Longan Trees.  We will be postdating your submission to go live next week as we will be away from the office for a few days.

Letter 13 – Lanternfly from Hong Kong: Longan Chicken

 

hong kong bug (with picture this time)
Hi,
Last year when I was on Lamma Island in Hong Kong I photographed this bug. It walked slowly, making it easy to photograph. Do you have any idea what this bug could be? Regards,
Alex
(the netherlands)

Hi Alex,
This is some species of Lanternfly, an insect in the order Homoptera. We found a photo on the Encyclopedia Brittanica site, but it is a different species.

Update: (01/21/2007) About the lanternfly from Hong Kong
Hi Bugman,
I believe that the lanternfly that Alex found in Hong Kong is Pyrops candelaria. The two most “common” Mandarin common names of this lanternfly, if translated literaly to English, is “white wax cicarda” (because of the white, wax-like powders on its eggs), and “longan chicken” (because it feeds on saps of the longan trees (Dimocarpus longan) as well as other fruit trees such as mango, lichi and olive). Pyrops candelaria is easily seen in Hong Kong and SE Asia. Images can be found here ( http://www.pbase.com/bluetitan/pyropscandelaria ) and here ( http://aestheticarthropoda.blogspot.com/2006/12/pyrops-candelaria.html ). (Unfortunately most of the introduction to this lanternfly is in Mandarin, and the second link is the best English description I can find.) hopefully you find it helpful,
Wei-Ting

Thank you so much for the Update Wei-Ting.

Letter 14 – Lanternfly from India

 

Subject:  Which insect it is?
Geographic location of the bug:  India
Date: 02/15/2018
Time: 12:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Sir, i found this insect in my balcony . Will you please help me out with this insect?
How you want your letter signed:  An uncanny arthropod

Lanternfly

This is some species of Lanternfly, and we believe it is Kalidasa lanata based on this Project Noah image.

Letter 15 – Lanternfly from Mexico

 

Is this a Lantern Moth?
Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 3:43 PM
This moth stayed on our terrace in Zihuatanejo, Mexico for a day and a night last fall.
Abigail
Zihuatanejo Mexico

Lanternfly
Lanternfly

Hi Abigail,
This is a Lanternfly, and it is a planthopper in the family Fulgoridae, not a moth. The Lanternfly is sometimes called a Peanut Headed Bug as well as an Alligator Bug because of its appearance. It is thought to mimic a lizard to escape predators. Your photo illustrates this nicely. According to Wikipedia , this insect, known as the Machaca in the Amazon, has a very interesting superstition surrounding it: “In several countries, such as Ecuador ,Colombia and Venezuela , there exists the myth that if somebody is bitten by the machaca , he or she must have sex within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death. The insect is actually harmless to people.”  Your photo of the underside of the Lanterfly shows the eyespots on the lower wings.  This is another form of protective mimicry, because when the Lanternfly reveals those eyespots, it gives the illusion of being a large predator.

Lanternfly
Lanternfly

Letter 16 – Lanternfly from Thailand

 

can you tell me the name of this one
Hi I saw this in Thailand and wanted to know its name . sorry the photos arnt very good
Thanks Bruce

Hi Bruce,
Your very blurry insect is a Lanternfly.

Letter 17 – Lanternfly from Thailand

 

possibly a snout butterfly?
March 1, 2010
my husband found this bug on the back window of his parked truck yesterday, and saved it in a little container for me to see. we’ve lived in Thailand over 25 yrs, so we’ve seen alot of unusual bugs, but never one like this. It has gorgeous green and yellow markings, bright yellow underwings, and a long curved snout. It looked very much like a butterfly when it flew away.
Judi Utley
Chiangmai, Thailand

Lanternfly

Hi Judi,
Though it has some characteristics of a butterfly, this Lanternfly is a Planthopper in the family Fulgoridae.  Tropical species were believed to be luminescent, hence the common name Lanternfly.  This species is Pyrops candelarius, and we located a photo of a mounted specimen on a museum website, and there is a brief description and photo of a living specimen on Wikipedia.

Lanternfly

Letter 18 – Lanternfly from Thailand

 

Colorful Insect
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
March 17, 2011 1:38 am
It’s the second time I see one of those around the house. I’ve been told it usually lives in rice field and it’s just a grasshopper… But I don’t quite believe it.
Signature: Jean-Luc

Lanternfly

Dear Jean-Luc,
We wish we had more time to write about this Lanternfly, but we are already running dangerously late this morning.

ID for yesterday’s lanternfly
March 18, 2011 3:05 pm
The “Lanternfly from Thailand” posted yesterday is probably Fulgora candelaria. Searching Google Images yields a number of extremely similar pictures.
Signature: W. Randy Hoffman

Thanks W. Randy,
Pyrops candelarius brings up matching photos as well.

Letter 19 – Lanternfly in Lucite

 

Subject: Orange and black big
Location: unknown
September 3, 2015 5:55 pm
Dear Bugman –
My name is Charlie. I am five and a half. I got a bug at the natural history museum. Can you tell me what it is called? Thank you!
Signature: Charlie

Lanternfly dorsal view
Lanternfly dorsal view

Hi Charlie,
This is a Lanternfly in the family Fulgoridae.  We believe your Lanternfly looks somewhat like this Longan Chicken, and we suspect it might be closely related, or perhaps it is a Longan Chicken and their colors fade after they die and are encased in lucite.

Lanternfly ventral view
Lanternfly ventral view
Lanternfly lateral view
Lanternfly lateral view

Letter 20 – Lanternfly from Laos

 

Subject: Strange bug in Laos
Location: Vientiane Laos
March 24, 2014 9:21 pm
Hi…I just want to know what this bug is and can I safely pick it up?
Signature: Mike Andreas

Lanternfly
Lanternfly

Dear Mike,
This Lanternfly,
Pyrops candelaria, is perfectly harmless and it may be handled without fear.

Thanks so much! I’d never seen anything like this here before. A friend who spent their life here in Laos never has either. Very lucky!

Letter 21 – Lanternfly or Partridge Bug

 

snout bug or beetle
These are common in grasslands around Boulder, Colorado, and I’m embarrassed that I can’t find them in any field guide. Much thanks,
Steve Jones
Boulder, Colorado

Hi Steve,
This is a Fulgorid Planthopper, commonly called a Lanternfly. A common Eastern species, Scolops sulcipes, is known as the Partridge Bug. Our Audubon Guide lists a species, also from the east, Scolops perdix, the Partridge Scolops, but we cannot locate that species name on BugGuide. BugGuide does list a species from Colorado, Scolops hesperius, bug on the page, Andy Hamilton writes: ” This species has a shorter, stouter horn on the head than other Scolops. It is a western species.” Your photo depicts a longer, narrower horn, much like the eastern species. We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he can provide the exact species.

Letter 22 – Malaysian Lanternfly

 

Pinocchio meets rudolph
Hi-
We found this bug in central Malaysia, and even though it’s distinct (to say the least), I can’t find anything about it on the internet. What the heck is it? Moth? Fly? cicada? Plastic happy-meal toy? Thank you!!
Megan

Hi Megan,
This is a Lanternfly in the Superfamily Fulgoroidea. They are considered Plant Hoppers and are mostly tropical.

Letter 23 – Mating Lanternflies from El Salvador

 

Salvadoran moths
Dear bugman,
I just got home from a week-long trip to a rural mountain clinic in eastern El Salvador. I lived there for almost a year & never saw this insect before. It sure looks like 2 mating moths (please see attached pictures). We are all wondering what it is. They were about 5 inches long. Thanks for your help,
Ali Hunt

Hi Ali,
Your letter and photo could not have come at a more fortuitous time. These are mating Lanternflies, Fulgora laternaria. They are Fulgorid Planthoppers and not Moths. There is a famous illustration by the 17th Century Artist Maria Sibylla Merian of this species that she drew in Surinam in 1700 and it is included in the show of her work currently on display at the Getty. What’s That Bug? has been asked to deliver a point of view lecture on the show and we will be using your photo and letter as a visual aid during our lecture. According to Wikipedia: “In several countries, such as Ecuador ,Colombia and Venezuela , there exists the myth that if somebody is bitten by the machaca , he or she must have sex within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death. The insect is actually harmless to people.”

Because of its appearance, the Lanternfly is also called a Peanut Head Bug or Alligator Bug, according to the Clemson Museum page devoted to it. The Lanternfly has eyespots on its lower wings, partially visible in another of your photos, that will startle any potential predators, a form of protective mimicry. The Lanternfly is also believe to mimic a lizard and this second photo shows this quite well. This insect is called a Lanternfly because it was once thought to be bioluminescent, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Update: (07/05/2008)
Dear Daniel,
Wow, thanks! I am glad you will be able to use the photos. If you are interested in the more exact location, it was taken in Los Abelines, El Salvador. The closest marked town on google maps is El Cirigual, El Salvador. If you do a google map search you will find it! Have a wonderful time at the lecture.
Ali Hunt

Letter 24 – Peanut Headed Lanternfly from Mexico

 

Bug on a leash
Hi bugman. Some of my friends went to Mexico this summer. They brought me these pictures of this weird bug. It was on a leash! What kind of bug is this? Thanks,
Francesco Saverio

Hi Francesco,
This is a Peanut Headed Lanternfly, Fulgora lanternaria, which is found in the Central and South American tropics. According to Wikipedia, this insect, known as the Machaca in the Amazon, has a very interesting superstition surrounding it: “In several countries, such as Ecuador ,Colombia and Venezuela , there exists the myth that if somebody is bitten by the machaca , he or she must have sex within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death. The insect is actually harmless to people.”

Letter 25 – Unidentified Lanternflies from Borneo

 

A fly with a blue, elongated nose and green wings with yellow polka dots.
Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 2:04 PM
Found in the rainforest in Borneo.
Vin
Sandakan, Borneo

 

Lanternflies from Borneo

Hi Vin,
In April 2008, we posted an image of this spectacular Lanternfly in the family Fulgoridae, also from Borneo, but we were never able to identify the species. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply us with a species identification.

Update:  August 5, 2012
We are trying to identify some old postings and on Samui Butterflies BLOG we found this Fulgorid Planthopper identified as
Pyrops whiteheadi.  OrionMystery Blogspot confirmed that identification.  We finally got a more reputable confirmation on CalPhotos of UC Berkeley.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Lanternfly from Hong Kong: Longan Chicken

 

Hong Kong bug
Sat, Apr 18, 2009 at 5:24 PM
Hello,
I just took this photo yesterday (April 18) on a roadside tree in Hong Kong. These bugs have been appearing for years, but only on this one specific tree. At times I have seen more than five all within plain sight.
They are about 2 inches long from nose to tail. The can fly, but not well, and they move sideways just as easily as backwards and forwards.
I don’t even know where to start looking them up – they look half moth and half beetle.
Thanks
Guy
Mid Levels, Hong Kong

Longan Chicken, a Lanternfly
Longan Chicken, a Lanternfly

Dear Guy,
This is a Lanternfly, an unusual group of insects in the family Fulgoridae.  When we posted another image of this species from Hong Kong in January 2007, we got this species identification:  “Hi Bugman,
I believe that the lanternfly that Alex found in Hong Kong is Pyrops candelaria. The two most “common” Mandarin common names of this lanternfly , if translated literaly to English, is “white wax cicarda” (because of the white, wax-like powders on its eggs), and “longan chicken” (because it feeds on saps of the longan trees (Dimocarpus longan) as well as other fruit trees such as mango, lichi and olive). Pyrops candelaria is easily seen in Hong Kong and SE Asia. Images can be found here ( http://www.pbase.com/bluetitan/pyropscandelaria ) and here ( http://aestheticarthropoda.blogspot.com/2006/12/pyrops-candelaria.html ). (Unfortunately most of the introduction to this lanternfly is in Mandarin, and the second link is the best English description I can find.) hopefully you find it helpful,  Wei-Ting ”  As a side note, we use the compound word Lanternfly, while some websites prefer to split the units and call this insect a Lantern Fly.  That would imply that it is a true fly, which it is not.  We stand firm on the spelling Lanternfly being correct.

Letter 2 – Lanternfly from Brazil

 

AMAZING INSECT FROM AMAZON
Here is an insect I was hoping you could identify for me. It’s found in the rain forest of Brazil along the Amazon River. Thanks so much for any help you can give me. 🙂
Donna Riley

Hi Donna,
This is a Lanternfly, one of the Fulgorid Planthoppers. We are thrilled you send an open wing and a closed wing view.

Thanks SO much for your timely reply. Actually (did I tell you?) the photo was sent to me by a missionary Vaughn Goff whose work is in the Amazon jungle.

Letter 3 – Lanternfly from Australia

 

Australian Lantern Fly
Hi Guys,
Well I told you there were lots of strange new bugs at my new place and this one sure fits the bill. It is a Fulgoridae: Amyclinae, Rentinus dilatatus
or Lantern Fly. It landed on my flyscreen door and let me get a few pictures before clicking once and zooming off into the bushes at great speed. I don’t think you have this guy, a search of the site only turned up one response to lantern fly.
aussietrev
Burnett Region, Queensland

Australian Lanternfly
Australian Lanternfly

Hi Trevor
Thanks for sending us your Australian Lanternfly. Wemay have to try that search, but we think your problem is that Lanternfly is one word. Generally, when fly is attached to another word, it is not a true fly, like Dragonfly or Butterfly, but if it is a separate word, like Crane Fly or Robber Fly, then it is a true fly. A Lanternfly is not a true fly.

Letter 4 – Lanternfly from Belize

 

New Beetle/Moth Species?
Location: Belize
August 8, 2011 9:40 pm
Hi,
I was in Central America, Belize in July 2011 and I was in the jungle of Lamanai and I spotted this beetle/moth.
While I was walking with my girlfriend, this insect flew close to her and it had beautiful blue wings while in flight with an intricate design when on the ground.
Can you help me identify this insect? Our tour guide said he’s never seen such an insect and it MAY be a undiscovered species!
I have attached a photo.
Thanks!
Michael
Signature: Danzer bug

Lanternfly from Belize

Hi Michael,
Online information on tropical species identification can often be quite sketchy and inaccurate.  We can tell you that this is a Fulgorid Planthopper in the family Fulgoridae, and that they are commonly called Lanternflies, but we cannot commit to a species identification.  That might take hours of searching the internet and not produce anything conclusive.

Letter 5 – Lanternfly from Borneo

 

Some bugs from Sabah
Hi
Another delighted newcomer to your site! I took these photos in Sabah, Borneo in Feb this year and from going through your site I think they might be a lanternfly and a snakefly, but it would be good if you knew the species.
Amanda, England

Hi Amanda,
Your Lanternfly from the family Fulgoridae is positively stunning. If we are able (since we have time constraints right now) we will also post your photo of a Dobsonfly. We will try to find out the species, but we don’t think this will be possible without hours and hours of research, and that is time we do not have. Exact Internet identification research is often very difficult for parts of the tropical world.

Letter 6 – Lanternfly from Borneo

 

Borneo Bug
Hi just found your great site! I am living in East Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo, and a friend of mine took these pictures of critters she saw when walking in the Kutai National park near Sangatta. Are they a species of planthopper or treehopper?? The local Indonesian name for them is “Lom Lim”. Any help would be greatly appreciated as books on local bugs are hard to come by out here! Many thanks, keep up the great work
Sara

Hi Sara,
This is a Fulgorid Planthopper. Insects in the family Fulgoridae are sometimes called Lanternflies. That common name dates to an erroneous early belief that tropical species were luminous. These insects suck plant juices.

Letter 7 – Lanternfly from Borneo

 

Lantern Bug from Borneo
Location: Poring Hot Springs, Sabah, Borneo
February 9, 2011 3:35 am
I believe this Lantern Bug seen in Sabah, Borneo, is a Fulgora sp., but can anyone tell me which species?
Signature: Peter Bruce-Jones

Lanternfly

Hi Peter,
We did a search for Lanternfly and Borneo and found a beautiful, rather similar looking insect on the Lost Borneo website that is identified as the genus
Pyrops.  An image web search of that name brought us to a photo on Flickriver that is identified as Pyrops whiteheadi.  We cannot say for certain that that is correct because we do not have a background in entomology, and we know that there is a proliferation of misinformation on the internet.  We are constantly misidentifying some of the photos that we post.

Hi Daniel,
Thank you. I agree wholeheartedly with your point about misinformation on the internet, but I have managed to find some other images of Pyrops whiteheadi which match the one in the link you sent and my image, so I think it is most likely correct. The search has also yielded the the unexpected ID for a mantis I photographed in Borneo too, so doubly thanks!
Best regards,
Peter

Letter 8 – Lanternfly from China

 

Red nosed bug in Chinese school
May 16, 2010
Hi Bugman,
This crazy looking bug flew into my classroom here in China. The kids tried to stamp on him but I managed to save him and pop him back out the window.
I’m intrigued to know what he is, I assumed his name would mention the huge red nose he’s sporting, but I’m not having any luck searching.
Joe in China
Guangzhou, South China

Lanternfly

Hi Joe,
This is a Fulgorid Planthopper, and it is sometimes called a Lanternfly.  This species is Pyrops candelarius, and we located a photo of a mounted specimen on a museum website, and there is a brief description and photo of a living specimen on Wikipedia.

Lanternfly

Letter 9 – Lanternfly from Costa Rica: Phrictus quinquepartitus

 

Interesting Insect from NW Costa Rica
March 31, 2010
I found this beautiful bug sitting on a smooth-barked tree over a stream at mid-elevation in a park at Rincon de la Vieja in the Guanacaste region of Costa Rica’s northwest. I truthfully do not know what this beautiful creature is, my friend called it a treehopper or leaf hopper or something but I’m sorry I can’t be of any more help.
Dave
Rincon de la Vieja, Guanacaste, Costa Rica

Lanternfly from Costa Rica

Hi Dave,
This is a Fulgorid Planthopper, commonly called a Lanternfly.  We posted a photo of this species this past January, and Piotr Naskrecki identified it as Phrictus quinquepartitus.

Letter 10 – Lanternfly from Ecuador

 

Subject: Is it a moth or a wasp?
Location: Puyo, Pastaza, Ecuador (Amazon)
July 12, 2013 1:13 pm
Hi, I was in the jungle in Ecuador. We were in the city of Puyo and this bug flew in at night. It looks like a moth, but I asked and someone said it was a wasp. I can’t find any info about it online. Thanks.
Signature: Jeff

Lanternfly
Lanternfly

Hi Jeff,
This is neither a wasp nor a moth.  It is a Lanternfly or Peanut Headed Bug,
Fulgora laternaria, and there are some local superstitions regarding this unusual relative of Cicadas and Leafhoppers.  Years ago we uncovered the superstion of the Machaca, a local name for the Lanternfly in some areas of South America.  The superstition is that if bitten by a Machaca, a person must have sex within 24 hours, or die.  Though we rarely quote Wikipedia, we cannot resist perpetuating this interesting rumor:  “In several countries, such as Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela, there exists the myth that if somebody is bitten by the machaca, he or she must have sex within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death. The popular belief in Bolivia (Santa Cruz de la Sierra) is that it is a dangerous insect dependant on its wing colours but the insect is actually harmless to people.”  Perhaps that is the reason you were informed that this was a wasp.  To the best of our knowledge, Lanternflies do not bite.  When they were initially discovered by westerners, it was believed that they were bioluminescent, hence the name Lanternfly, but in actuality, they do not glow in the dark.

Thank you. Now I understand why I couldn’t find any info on it.

Letter 11 – Lanternfly from Gambia

 

Subject:  Bug ID
Geographic location of the bug:  The Gambia
Date: 01/11/2018
Time: 08:44 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Hi
I have long wondered what this is, taken in the Gambia in 2008. Not sure if its a bug or a strange moth. I would be grateful if you could help ID it
Thanks
How you want your letter signed:  Richard Heath

Lanternfly

Dear Richard,
This free-living Hemipteran in the family Fulgoridae is commonly called a Lanternfly.  There is a similar looking Lanternfly from Gambia posted to FlickR.

Letter 12 – Lanternfly from Hong Kong is Longan Chicken

 

Subject: Hong Kong Bugs
Location: Hong Kong, Tung Chung N. Park
March 28, 2013 3:14 am
I found this and another in a Hong Kong Park this afternoon after a big thunderstorm.
Signature: johnsohk

Lanternfly or Longan Chicken
Lanternfly or Longan Chicken

Dear johnsohk,
Your insect is a Lanternfly in the family Fulgoridae, and we identified the species in the past as
Pyrops candelaria.  Several years ago a reader informed us that the Mandarin name for this insect is translated as the Longan Chicken because it feeds on the sap of Longan Trees.  We will be postdating your submission to go live next week as we will be away from the office for a few days.

Letter 13 – Lanternfly from Hong Kong: Longan Chicken

 

hong kong bug (with picture this time)
Hi,
Last year when I was on Lamma Island in Hong Kong I photographed this bug. It walked slowly, making it easy to photograph. Do you have any idea what this bug could be? Regards,
Alex
(the netherlands)

Hi Alex,
This is some species of Lanternfly, an insect in the order Homoptera. We found a photo on the Encyclopedia Brittanica site, but it is a different species.

Update: (01/21/2007) About the lanternfly from Hong Kong
Hi Bugman,
I believe that the lanternfly that Alex found in Hong Kong is Pyrops candelaria. The two most “common” Mandarin common names of this lanternfly, if translated literaly to English, is “white wax cicarda” (because of the white, wax-like powders on its eggs), and “longan chicken” (because it feeds on saps of the longan trees (Dimocarpus longan) as well as other fruit trees such as mango, lichi and olive). Pyrops candelaria is easily seen in Hong Kong and SE Asia. Images can be found here ( http://www.pbase.com/bluetitan/pyropscandelaria ) and here ( http://aestheticarthropoda.blogspot.com/2006/12/pyrops-candelaria.html ). (Unfortunately most of the introduction to this lanternfly is in Mandarin, and the second link is the best English description I can find.) hopefully you find it helpful,
Wei-Ting

Thank you so much for the Update Wei-Ting.

Letter 14 – Lanternfly from India

 

Subject:  Which insect it is?
Geographic location of the bug:  India
Date: 02/15/2018
Time: 12:28 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman:  Sir, i found this insect in my balcony . Will you please help me out with this insect?
How you want your letter signed:  An uncanny arthropod

Lanternfly

This is some species of Lanternfly, and we believe it is Kalidasa lanata based on this Project Noah image.

Letter 15 – Lanternfly from Mexico

 

Is this a Lantern Moth?
Tue, Mar 31, 2009 at 3:43 PM
This moth stayed on our terrace in Zihuatanejo, Mexico for a day and a night last fall.
Abigail
Zihuatanejo Mexico

Lanternfly
Lanternfly

Hi Abigail,
This is a Lanternfly, and it is a planthopper in the family Fulgoridae, not a moth. The Lanternfly is sometimes called a Peanut Headed Bug as well as an Alligator Bug because of its appearance. It is thought to mimic a lizard to escape predators. Your photo illustrates this nicely. According to Wikipedia , this insect, known as the Machaca in the Amazon, has a very interesting superstition surrounding it: “In several countries, such as Ecuador ,Colombia and Venezuela , there exists the myth that if somebody is bitten by the machaca , he or she must have sex within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death. The insect is actually harmless to people.”  Your photo of the underside of the Lanterfly shows the eyespots on the lower wings.  This is another form of protective mimicry, because when the Lanternfly reveals those eyespots, it gives the illusion of being a large predator.

Lanternfly
Lanternfly

Letter 16 – Lanternfly from Thailand

 

can you tell me the name of this one
Hi I saw this in Thailand and wanted to know its name . sorry the photos arnt very good
Thanks Bruce

Hi Bruce,
Your very blurry insect is a Lanternfly.

Letter 17 – Lanternfly from Thailand

 

possibly a snout butterfly?
March 1, 2010
my husband found this bug on the back window of his parked truck yesterday, and saved it in a little container for me to see. we’ve lived in Thailand over 25 yrs, so we’ve seen alot of unusual bugs, but never one like this. It has gorgeous green and yellow markings, bright yellow underwings, and a long curved snout. It looked very much like a butterfly when it flew away.
Judi Utley
Chiangmai, Thailand

Lanternfly

Hi Judi,
Though it has some characteristics of a butterfly, this Lanternfly is a Planthopper in the family Fulgoridae.  Tropical species were believed to be luminescent, hence the common name Lanternfly.  This species is Pyrops candelarius, and we located a photo of a mounted specimen on a museum website, and there is a brief description and photo of a living specimen on Wikipedia.

Lanternfly

Letter 18 – Lanternfly from Thailand

 

Colorful Insect
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
March 17, 2011 1:38 am
It’s the second time I see one of those around the house. I’ve been told it usually lives in rice field and it’s just a grasshopper… But I don’t quite believe it.
Signature: Jean-Luc

Lanternfly

Dear Jean-Luc,
We wish we had more time to write about this Lanternfly, but we are already running dangerously late this morning.

ID for yesterday’s lanternfly
March 18, 2011 3:05 pm
The “Lanternfly from Thailand” posted yesterday is probably Fulgora candelaria. Searching Google Images yields a number of extremely similar pictures.
Signature: W. Randy Hoffman

Thanks W. Randy,
Pyrops candelarius brings up matching photos as well.

Letter 19 – Lanternfly in Lucite

 

Subject: Orange and black big
Location: unknown
September 3, 2015 5:55 pm
Dear Bugman –
My name is Charlie. I am five and a half. I got a bug at the natural history museum. Can you tell me what it is called? Thank you!
Signature: Charlie

Lanternfly dorsal view
Lanternfly dorsal view

Hi Charlie,
This is a Lanternfly in the family Fulgoridae.  We believe your Lanternfly looks somewhat like this Longan Chicken, and we suspect it might be closely related, or perhaps it is a Longan Chicken and their colors fade after they die and are encased in lucite.

Lanternfly ventral view
Lanternfly ventral view
Lanternfly lateral view
Lanternfly lateral view

Letter 20 – Lanternfly from Laos

 

Subject: Strange bug in Laos
Location: Vientiane Laos
March 24, 2014 9:21 pm
Hi…I just want to know what this bug is and can I safely pick it up?
Signature: Mike Andreas

Lanternfly
Lanternfly

Dear Mike,
This Lanternfly,
Pyrops candelaria, is perfectly harmless and it may be handled without fear.

Thanks so much! I’d never seen anything like this here before. A friend who spent their life here in Laos never has either. Very lucky!

Letter 21 – Lanternfly or Partridge Bug

 

snout bug or beetle
These are common in grasslands around Boulder, Colorado, and I’m embarrassed that I can’t find them in any field guide. Much thanks,
Steve Jones
Boulder, Colorado

Hi Steve,
This is a Fulgorid Planthopper, commonly called a Lanternfly. A common Eastern species, Scolops sulcipes, is known as the Partridge Bug. Our Audubon Guide lists a species, also from the east, Scolops perdix, the Partridge Scolops, but we cannot locate that species name on BugGuide. BugGuide does list a species from Colorado, Scolops hesperius, bug on the page, Andy Hamilton writes: ” This species has a shorter, stouter horn on the head than other Scolops. It is a western species.” Your photo depicts a longer, narrower horn, much like the eastern species. We will contact Eric Eaton to see if he can provide the exact species.

Letter 22 – Malaysian Lanternfly

 

Pinocchio meets rudolph
Hi-
We found this bug in central Malaysia, and even though it’s distinct (to say the least), I can’t find anything about it on the internet. What the heck is it? Moth? Fly? cicada? Plastic happy-meal toy? Thank you!!
Megan

Hi Megan,
This is a Lanternfly in the Superfamily Fulgoroidea. They are considered Plant Hoppers and are mostly tropical.

Letter 23 – Mating Lanternflies from El Salvador

 

Salvadoran moths
Dear bugman,
I just got home from a week-long trip to a rural mountain clinic in eastern El Salvador. I lived there for almost a year & never saw this insect before. It sure looks like 2 mating moths (please see attached pictures). We are all wondering what it is. They were about 5 inches long. Thanks for your help,
Ali Hunt

Hi Ali,
Your letter and photo could not have come at a more fortuitous time. These are mating Lanternflies, Fulgora laternaria. They are Fulgorid Planthoppers and not Moths. There is a famous illustration by the 17th Century Artist Maria Sibylla Merian of this species that she drew in Surinam in 1700 and it is included in the show of her work currently on display at the Getty. What’s That Bug? has been asked to deliver a point of view lecture on the show and we will be using your photo and letter as a visual aid during our lecture. According to Wikipedia: “In several countries, such as Ecuador ,Colombia and Venezuela , there exists the myth that if somebody is bitten by the machaca , he or she must have sex within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death. The insect is actually harmless to people.”

Because of its appearance, the Lanternfly is also called a Peanut Head Bug or Alligator Bug, according to the Clemson Museum page devoted to it. The Lanternfly has eyespots on its lower wings, partially visible in another of your photos, that will startle any potential predators, a form of protective mimicry. The Lanternfly is also believe to mimic a lizard and this second photo shows this quite well. This insect is called a Lanternfly because it was once thought to be bioluminescent, but that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Update: (07/05/2008)
Dear Daniel,
Wow, thanks! I am glad you will be able to use the photos. If you are interested in the more exact location, it was taken in Los Abelines, El Salvador. The closest marked town on google maps is El Cirigual, El Salvador. If you do a google map search you will find it! Have a wonderful time at the lecture.
Ali Hunt

Letter 24 – Peanut Headed Lanternfly from Mexico

 

Bug on a leash
Hi bugman. Some of my friends went to Mexico this summer. They brought me these pictures of this weird bug. It was on a leash! What kind of bug is this? Thanks,
Francesco Saverio

Hi Francesco,
This is a Peanut Headed Lanternfly, Fulgora lanternaria, which is found in the Central and South American tropics. According to Wikipedia, this insect, known as the Machaca in the Amazon, has a very interesting superstition surrounding it: “In several countries, such as Ecuador ,Colombia and Venezuela , there exists the myth that if somebody is bitten by the machaca , he or she must have sex within 24 hours to prevent an otherwise incurable death. The insect is actually harmless to people.”

Letter 25 – Unidentified Lanternflies from Borneo

 

A fly with a blue, elongated nose and green wings with yellow polka dots.
Wed, Apr 1, 2009 at 2:04 PM
Found in the rainforest in Borneo.
Vin
Sandakan, Borneo

 

Lanternflies from Borneo

Hi Vin,
In April 2008, we posted an image of this spectacular Lanternfly in the family Fulgoridae, also from Borneo, but we were never able to identify the species. Perhaps one of our readers will be able to supply us with a species identification.

Update:  August 5, 2012
We are trying to identify some old postings and on Samui Butterflies BLOG we found this Fulgorid Planthopper identified as
Pyrops whiteheadi.  OrionMystery Blogspot confirmed that identification.  We finally got a more reputable confirmation on CalPhotos of UC Berkeley.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

13 thoughts on “Where Did Spotted Lanternflies Come From: Unraveling the Mystery of Their Origin”

  1. Hi Judi – Paul Jenks was trying to contact Paul, partially on my behalf. imagine my surprise when I saw your post/question here! I made an inquiry a while back also.

    I think perhaps Paul J. had an old email for your Paul and was wondering if I could update your contact information? My family is moving to Chiang Mai in a few months with AMG International.

    My email is curtisb5673@gmail.com

    THANKS! 😉

    Reply
  2. How timely! Did you see today’s Google Doodle? It’s a birthday tribute to Maria Sibylla Merian, whom – along with her drawing of a peanut-headed lanternfly – you discuss in your book!

    Reply
    • Thanks for letting us know. We have been away without any internet access, and now that we are back, we will be playing catchup for days.

      Reply
  3. are there any breeders/supliers of lanternflys in the uk? they look stunning and unusual pets, i am currently trying to get my little brothers interested in biology and the best way seems to be by showing them cool creatures and there development as they grow 🙂

    Reply
    • According to the Biodiversity of Belize website (see http://biological-diversity.info/invertebrates.htm ) “Little or nothing is known about the biology of this oddity. In Costa Rica the species is believed to be linked to the tree Hymenaea coubaril (Leguminosae). This tree is quite rare in Belize and I have found specimens of Fulgoria most commonly on trunks of Zanthoxylum trees (Rutaceae).” We do not believe Lanternflies are being bred in captivity.

      Reply
  4. Yes, Chun Xing Wong is right – according to a book in my hands “Fulgoridae 2 – Illustrated Catalogue of the Asiatic and Australian Fuana” by Nagai and Porion this is definitely Pyrops sultana (Adams and White, 1847), known only from Borneo. – This book is extremely useful as it pictures all Fulgoridae known from that region.

    Erwin

    Reply
    • Thanks for your confirmation Erwin. Pyrops sultana is now pictured on Discover Life and on PBase. There are many more photos available on the internet now than in 2007 when we first received this identification request. We are very appreciative that our readership digs through our archives to help with incomplete or incorrect identifications from years past.

      Reply
  5. Yes, Chun Xing Wong is right – according to a book in my hands “Fulgoridae 2 – Illustrated Catalogue of the Asiatic and Australian Fuana” by Nagai and Porion this is definitely Pyrops sultana (Adams and White, 1847), known only from Borneo. – This book is extremely useful as it pictures all Fulgoridae known from that region.

    Erwin

    Reply

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