Spotted lanterns are native to China, Vietnam, and India. This insect is about one inch long and half an inch wide. The forewings are gray with black spots. Most of all, however, this insect is notable for its bright red hind wings covered with black spots.
Spotted lantern flies are considered invasive and have been found in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, Massachusetts, and Maryland, as well as other eastern states in the United States. They live in trees and various sap-containing plants.
After drinking the sap of the tree, the spotted lanterns release a liquid called honeydew. This liquid is harmful because it attracts other harmful insects and can weaken the tree’s defenses against mold and disease. Unfortunately, a large group of fireflies can kill fruit trees.
So, do spotted lanterns have predators? These insects not they have many natural predators, so they can multiply rapidly and threaten the harvest of fruit trees. In addition, the bright red color on the hind wings of this insect serves as a warning signal to predators that it is potentially poisonous. This protects the bug from some threats. However, there are several predators that eat these jumping insects.
Spotted Lantern Predators:
1. Praying mantis
Praying mantises inhabit many of the same areas as spotted fireflies. A lantern eating the sap of a plant will probably not notice a praying mantis sitting on or hanging underneath the nearest leaf. Praying mantises are bright green, so they blend easily with the leaves of many plant species.
The praying mantis sits and waits for its lantern victim to approach. Then, in one swift movement, it grabs the insect with its spiked forepaws. Praying mantises eat fireflies and other prey with sharp jaws that can easily cut through the insect’s flesh.
Despite its name, the lantern jumps more than flies. So he has no real chance of escape from the hiding mantis. Praying mantises eat adult lanterns as well as young fireflies known as nymphs.
When you think of a group of chickens on a farm, you can probably imagine them eating seeds or cracked corn. But chickens have a reputation for eating many different types of insects. Spotted fireflies are on the chicken menu.
Since spotted fireflies live on fruit trees and several types of plants, it is not unusual for a chicken on a farm to encounter this insect. A chicken that sees a lantern on the ground or on a plant will peck at it with a sharp beak. A large chicken could swallow a fly whole in one gulp. A smaller chicken will be able to swallow lantern nymphs.
3. Garden spiders
Garden spiders and spotted fireflies live in the same habitat. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that these spiders are on their list of predators. The garden spider weaves its intricate web between plant stems and in other places where insects are abundant.
The body of a female garden spider can be just over one inch in length. Thus, they are large enough to defeat a flashlight fly entangled in their circular web.
As soon as the spotted lantern hits its web, the garden spider injects poison into it, causing it to stop moving. The spider can wrap the lantern in silk to eat later or immediately.
4. Gray cat birds
Gray felines are also considered to be spotted lantern predators. These birds live in meadows, thickets and trees. The name of this bird reflects its characteristic call, reminiscent of a cat’s meow.
They eat insects, as well as berries and various types of small fruits. This makes an encounter with a spotted fly very likely. Gray feline birds can eat adult lanterns or even a group of lantern nymphs on a tree or plant.
5. Yellow jackets
Yellow jackets attract vegetation with nectar and sap. They move in the same habitat as spotted fireflies. In addition to nectar, the yellow jacket’s diet includes caterpillars and a variety of insects.
The yellow jacket will sting the spotted lantern with poison to immobilize it. He then uses his jaw to eat the insect. Scientists have observed how yellow jackets eat both living and dead spotted lanterns.
6. Wheel errors
Trees, gardens and meadows are all habitats for the wheeled beetle. They eat caterpillars, beetles and other insects. An adult wheeled beetle can grow up to one and a quarter inches. It got its name from the fact that its back is like a wheel.
This large insect catches the spotted fly with its powerful front paws and holds its writhing body until it dies. The wheel beetle eats by poking its beak at the spotted fly (or other insects) and draining its insides.
7. Snakes with garters
Garter snakes eat a wide variety of animals, including small rodents, fish, and insects. They are also known to eat spotted lanterns.
These snakes live in woodlands, fields and gardens. These are fast snakes that can easily catch an adult lantern fly or lantern nymph. This small snake grabs a spotted fly with its strong mouths and swallows it whole.
Koi are colorful carp-related fish that can grow up to two feet in length or more – they are also predators of spotted lantern flies. People who have backyard ponds often turn them on with this lively fish. Although the koi in the backyard pond are usually fed store-bought food, they also eat insects. They are considered the predators of spotted lanterns. A spotted lantern that jumps into a backyard pond or accidentally lands in it will be eaten by a koi in seconds!
Next: bull shark vs great white shark: 9 differences