Snapshots by Citizen Scientists Help Identify Spotted Lanternfly Predators

Scientists at Penn State University are looking for potential predators among native species that could help provide control of the invasive spotted lanternfly, a pest found in 34 Pennsylvania counties and surrounding states. They asked citizen scientists to supply photos and observations of species feeding on the pest and received 660 submissions. Photographers supplied images of birds, insects, mammals, and fish consuming the spotted lanternfly. Scientists say the results are promising, although the spotted lanternfly doesn’t have enough natural enemies ready in the United States to keep its population in check. “The overwhelming response to our request demonstrates what we suspected—that native predators may play a larger role in spotted lanternfly control than may have been assumed previously, perhaps giving us more biological options to help manage this pest,” said one of the study leaders.