The insect Bagrada hilaris (Burmeister) an important pest worldwide, mainly due to the serious economic losses incurred and the large number of zones invaded. However, current and future spatial distributions of this pest, and the total area of cropland potentially affected have not been estimated. Here, we aim to: (1) estimate the potential geographic distribution of B. hilaris; (2) quantify the total area of cropland potentially affected worldwide, and in two recently colonized zones (California and Chile); and (3) estimate future changes in distribution under different climate change scenarios.
We found that B. hilaris shows high environmental suitability in Mediterranean and arid regions, potentially affecting 1 108 184.1 km2 of cropland worldwide. The most affected continents were Asia and America, with 309 659.8 and 294 638.6 km2 of cropland at risk. More than 50% of cropland areas are at risk in seven countries. In California and central Chile, 43.7% and 50% of susceptible crops are at a high level of risk, respectively. Climate change scenarios predict an increase in the potential distribution of B. hilaris worldwide; America being the most affected continent.
Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.