The potential distribution of an invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis and its threat to cotton in Asia

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Abstract:

• In recent years, an invasive mealybug Phenacoccus solenopsis Tinsley (Hemiptera: Pseudococcidae) has attacked cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) in Pakistan and India, causing severe economic losses. This polyphagous pest was probably introduced accidentally from North America. Infestations have broken out suddenly and spread rapidly.

• Seasonal and annual population growth data of P. solenopsis from nine locations in its native range in the U.S.A., and the distribution of the mealybug worldwide, were analyzed using the CLIMEX model. This indicated that tropical regions worldwide were highly suitable for P. solenopsis.

• Its potential distribution was limited by cold in high latitudes and altitudes, and dryness in northern Africa, inland Australia and parts of the Middle East. CLIMEX was used to predict where P. solenopsis might establish, and to estimate the potential threat to cotton yield in Asia. The key limiting factors were low precipitation as well as minimum temperatures in northern areas.

• When irrigation was factored into the simulation, the potential distribution of P. solenopsis expanded dramatically, indicating that P. solenopsis presents a great economic threat to cotton in Asia and other parts of the world.
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