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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Predicted Range Expansion of the Invasive Fire Ant, Solenopsis Invicta, in the Eastern United States Based on the Vemap Global Warming Scenario

Authors
item Morrison, Lloyd
item Korzukhin, Michael - INST. OF GLOBAL CLIMATE
item PORTER, SANFORD

Submitted to: Diversity and Distributions
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: October 22, 2004
Publication Date: May 2, 2005
Citation: Morrison, L.W., Korzukhin, M.D., Porter, S.D. 2005. Predicted range expansion of the invasive fire ant, Solenopsis invicta, in the eastern United States based on the VEMAP global warming scenario. Diversity and Distributions. 11: 199-204.

Interpretive Summary: The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, is an invasive pest from South America that currently occupies much of the southeastern U.S. Global warming is likely to allow range expansion of many invasive species, including S. invicta. Scientists working at the USDA-ARS, Center for Medical, Agricultural, and Veterinary Entomology, in Gainesville, FL, in collaboration with a scientist from the Institute of Global Climate and Ecology in Moscow, Russia, used a dynamic model of fire ant colony growth coupled with models simulating climate change to predict the potential range expansion of S. invicta in the eastern U.S. over the next century. The climate change scenario predicted by the Vegetation-Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP) was used in our analyses. Our predictions indicate that the habitable area for S. invicta may increase by ~5% over the next 40-50 years. As the pace of global warming quickens in the latter half of the century, however, the habitable area for S. invicta is predicted to be >21% greater than it is currently. Because the black imported fire ant, S. richteri Forel, occupies higher latitudes than S. invicta, the overall area of the eastern U.S. infested with invasive Solenopsis species could be greater than that estimated here.

Technical Abstract: The red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta Buren, is an invasive pest from South America that currently occupies much of the southeastern U.S. Global warming is likely to allow range expansion of many invasive species, including S. invicta. We used a dynamic, ecophysiological model of fire ant colony growth coupled with models simulating climate change to predict the potential range expansion of S. invicta in the eastern U.S. over the next century. The climate change scenario predicted by the Vegetation-Ecosystem Modeling and Analysis Project (VEMAP) was used in our analyses. Our predictions indicate that the habitable area for S. invicta may increase by ~5% over the next 40-50 years (a northward expansion of 33 ± 35 km). As the pace of global warming is expected to quicken in the latter half of the century, however, the habitable area for S. invicta in 2100 is predicted to be >21% greater than it is currently (a northward expansion of 133 ± 68 km). Because the black imported fire ant, S. richteri Forel, occupies higher latitudes than S. invicta, the overall area of the eastern U.S. infested with invasive Solenopsis species could be greater than that estimated here.

Last Modified: 9/10/2014
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