White Cicada from South Korea

Subject: I think it’s a bettle???
Location: South Korea
September 20, 2015 4:55 pm
I’m stationed in South Korea and I found these 2 bugs on a tree this morning. What are they?
Signature: Christian

White Cicadas
White Cicadas

Dear Christian,
Though they are commonly called White Cicadas, your insects are actually Fulgorid Leafhoppers,
Lycorma delicatula, and we frequently get identification requests for the bright red nymphs with bold black and white markings.  Also known as the Spotted Lanternfly, this species was recently reported in Pest News as an invasive exotic species detected in Pennsylvania.  According to Pest News:  “Spotted lanternfly feeds on a variety of host plants including fruit trees, ornamental trees, woody trees, and vines.  Apples, birch, cherry, dogwood, grapes, Korean Evodia, lilac, maple, poplar, stone fruits, and tree-of-heaven are among more than 70 species of hosts attacked by this pest.  Tree-of-heaven, which contains high concentrations of cytotoxic alkaloids, is one of the favorite hosts.  This is probably why spotted lanternfly is considered poisonous and used in traditional Chinese medicine.  Other preferred hosts such as Korean Evodia (Bebe tree) are also used in oriental medicine suggesting that spotted lanternfly has a high preference for hosts that contain toxic secondary metabolites.  Observations in South Korea also indicate that spotted lanternfly appears to have a wider host range early in life as young nymphs and a narrow range as they grow older, especially before egg laying.  Choosing plants with toxic metabolites for egg laying is thought to be a mechanism of defense to protect from natural enemies.  Although grape vine does not have toxic metabolites like these other hosts, spotted lanternfly showed a strong preference in studies conducted in South Korea.  Sugar content of the host plant also appears to play a role in their choice with a preference for hosts containing high sucrose and fructose content.”

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