, Volume 48, Issue 3, pp 199-212
Date: 20 Jan 2009

Modelling the potential distribution of the invasive tomato red spider mite, Tetranychus evansi (Acari: Tetranychidae)

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Abstract

Predicting the potential geographical distribution of a species is particularly important for pests with strong invasive abilities. Tetranychus evansi Baker & Pritchard, possibly native to South America, is a spider mite pest of solanaceous crops. This mite is considered an invasive species in Africa and Europe. A CLIMEX model was developed to predict its global distribution. The model results fitted the known records of T. evansi except for some records in dry locations. Dryness as well as excess moisture stresses play important roles in limiting the spread of the mite in the tropics. In North America and Eurasia its potential distribution appears to be essentially limited by cold stress. Detailed potential distribution maps are provided for T. evansi in the Mediterranean Basin and in Japan. These two regions correspond to climatic borders for the species. Mite establishment in these areas can be explained by their relatively mild winters. The Mediterranean region is also the main area where tomato is grown in open fields in Europe and where the pest represents a threat. According to the model, the whole Mediterranean region has the potential to be extensively colonized by the mite. Wide expansion of the mite to new areas in Africa is also predicted. Agricultural issues highlighted by the modelled distribution of the pest are discussed.