The potential global distribution of Chilo partellus, including consideration of irrigation and cropping patterns
Van den Berg, Johnnie
Kriticos, Darren J.
Hutchison, William D.
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Chilo partellus is a major crop pest in Asia and Africa, and has recently spread to the Mediterranean region. Knowledge of its potential distribution can inform biosecurity policies aimed at limiting its further spread and efforts to reduce its impact in areas that are already invaded. Three models of the potential distribution of this insect have been published, each with significant shortcomings. We re-parameterized an existing CLIMEX model to address some parameter inconsistencies and to improve the fit to the known distribution of C. partellus. The resulting model fits the known distribution better than previous models, highlights additional risks in equatorial regions and reduces modelled risks in wet and extremely dry regions. We bring new insights into the role of irrigation in the potential spread of this invasive insect and compare its potential distribution with the present known distribution of its hosts. We also distinguish regions that are suitable for supporting persistent populations from those that may be at risk from ephemeral populations during favourable seasons. We present one of the first demonstrations of a new capability in CLIMEX to automatically estimate parameter sensitivity and model uncertainty. Our CLIMEX model highlights the substantial invasion risk posed by C. partellus to cropping regions in the Americas, Australia, China, Europe, New Zealand and West Africa. Its broad host range and reported impacts suggest that it should be a pest of significant concern to biosecurity agencies in these presently uninvaded regions