Global phylogeography and invasion history of the spotted lanternfly revealed by mitochondrial phylogenomics

Zhenyong Du, Yunfei Wu, Zhuo Chen, Liangming Cao, Tadashi Ishikawa, Satoshi Kamitani, Teiji Sota, Fan Song, Li Tian, Wanzhi Cai, Hu Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Biological invasion has been a serious global threat due to increasing international trade and population movements. Tracking the source and route of invasive species and evaluating the genetic differences in their native regions have great significance for the effective monitoring and management, and further resolving the invasive mechanism. The spotted lanternfly Lycorma delicatula is native to China and invaded South Korea, Japan, and the United States during the last decade, causing severe damages to the fruits and timber industries. However, its global phylogeographic pattern and invasion history are not clearly understood. We applied high-throughput sequencing to obtain 392 whole mitochondrial genome sequences from four countries to ascertain the origin, dispersal, and invasion history of the spotted lanternfly. Phylogenomic analyses revealed that the spotted lanternfly originated from southwestern China, diverged into six phylogeographic lineages, and experienced northward expansion across the Yangtze River in the late Pleistocene. South Korea populations were derived from multiple invasions from eastern China and Japan with two different genetic sources of northwestern (Loess Plateau) and eastern (East Plain) lineages in China, whereas the each of Japan and the United States had only one. The United States populations originated through single invasive event from South Korea, which served as a bridgehead of invasion. The environmental conditions, especially the distribution of host Ailanthus trees, and adaptability possibly account for the rapid spread of the spotted lanternfly in the native and introduced regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)915-930
Number of pages16
JournalEvolutionary Applications
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)


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