Predicting the potential invasive range of light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana) using biologically informed and correlative species distribution models
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- Lozier, J.D. & Mills, N.J. Biol Invasions (2011) 13: 2409. doi:10.1007/s10530-011-0052-5
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The light brown apple moth (Epiphyas postvittana) is a highly polyphagous species that has invaded several geographic regions across the globe and has stimulated substantial concern over possible impacts for agriculture in the US. We aimed to predict the potential geographic range of E. postvittana to better understand the threat of this species in the US and globally. We used the mechanistic simulation modelling method CLIMEX and the correlative niche modelling method Maxent to predict the geographic distribution of E. postvittana in its native range and globally and tested model projections using known invasion data. Different predictor variable data sets and threshold dependent and independent measures of environmental suitability were considered in model evaluation. Models accurately predicted known invasive localities of E. postvittana across the globe. Overall predictions of environmental suitability were largely congruent across models, although there were some notable differences. Ephiphyas postvittana clearly has the potential to establish in many regions of the globe, although some previous analyses of the potential distribution of this species appear overly pessimistic. Additional studies of the biology of this species in invaded areas, including interactions with natural enemies and the capacity to adapt to novel climatic conditions, are ultimately needed to more fully understand its potential economic and environmental impacts.