Spotted lanternfly planthopper: grape pest to disrupt the global wine market?

Assessment suggests that paninvasion and disruption of global wine market is likely unless invasion potentials are mitigated immediately

Data resources used via GBIF : 8,349 species occurrences
Lycorma delicatula
Lycorma delicatula (White, 1845) nymphs observed in Bernardsville, New Jersey, USA by Nils Helstrom (CC BY-NC 4.0)

Native to China, the spotted lanternfly planthopper (Lycorma delicatula; SLF) has spread, established and become invasive in the eastern United States, feeding on vineyard grapes, threatening wine production through vine deaths and near-total yield losses.

Recognizing SLF as an emerging paninvasive species and potential threat to the $300B global wine industry, researchers from Pennsylvania—where the first US introduction took place ca. 2014—developed a paninvasion severity assessment framework, presented in this study.

Based on US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pandemic assessment methods adapted to invasion process theory, the framework relied on the estimation of three invasion potentials in uninvaded US states and countries worldwide: transport (metric tonnage of goods imported from invaded states), establishment (ensemble of species distribution models using GBIF-mediated occurrences) and impact (tonnage of grapes and wine produced).

Illinois, Texas and California had the heaviest trade with invaded states and also the highest establishment potential, and, for California, the highest impact potential. This pattern of aligned invasion potentials carried through on a global scale where the major grape-producing regions (i.e. highest potential for impact) also had the highest risk of transport and establishment.

Concluding with an overall estimated risk of SLF disrupting the global wine market of eight out of 10, the authors strongly recommend immediate coordinated efforts to reduce transport, establishment and impact potentials globally. They suggest regular updates of SLF transport potential as more territories become invaded, but also research into long-term control methods, such as SLF-specific RNA-based insectisides.

Huron NA, Behm JE and Helmus MR (2022) Paninvasion severity assessment of a U.S. grape pest to disrupt the global wine market. Communications Biology. Springer Science and Business Media LLC 5(1). Available at: https://doi.org/10.1038/s42003-022-03580-w