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Study finds large potential range for invasive spotted lanternfly


by Entomological Society of America
As the invasive spotted lanternfly wreaks havoc in the mid-Atlantic United States, scientists and a range of tree and fruit growers around the world are concerned about where the pest could show up next. A new habitat-modeling study from the U.S. Department of Agriculture may not put those minds at ease, as findings show large swaths of the United States and beyond are likely to be vulnerable should the spotted lanternfly continue to spread.

Tewodros Wakie, Ph.D., research ecologist at the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS), led a team in studying climate data from the spotted lanternfly's native range in Asia and areas it has invaded in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and they compared that information with climate data for other global regions to model likely suitable habitat for the insect. Their results, published today in the Journal of Economic Entomology, show that the spotted lanternfly could become established in most of New England and the mid-Atlantic states as well as parts of the central U.S. and Pacific Northwest. Globally, they also found suitable habitat in much of Europe plus parts of eastern Asia and the southern reaches of Africa, Australia, and South America.

"Locations with high risk of spotted lanternfly establishment should consider taking preventive measures," Wakie says. "Early detection is key to control and eradication."

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