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Predicting the distribution of the two bark beetles Tomicus destruens and Tomicus piniperda in Europe and the Mediterranean region

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Various factors such as climate and resource availability influence the geographical distributions of organisms. Species sensitive to small temperature variations are known to experience rapid distribution shifts as a result of current global warming, sometimes leading to new threats to agriculture and forests. Tomicus piniperda and Tomicus destruens (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Scolytinae) cause economic damage to pines in Europe and around the Mediterranean Basin. However, their respective potential distributions have not yet been studied at a large scale. The present study aimed to investigate the influence of climatic and host factors on the geographical distributions of both Tomicus species in Europe and around the Mediterranean Sea, and to establish maps of suitable areas.

Using 114 published localities where the presence or absence of both species was unambiguously recorded, we gathered WorldClim meteorological records to correlate the occurrence of insects with bioclimatic variables and to build potential distribution maps.

The two studied Tomicus species presented parapatric distributions and opposite climate demands, with T. destruens occurring in locations with warmer temperatures, whereas T. piniperda occurs under a colder climate. Amongst the investigated climate variables, temperature appeared to be most correlated with both species distributions.

The potential ranges of both species were further restricted by the availability of pine hosts. It appeared that setting new pine plantations in regions where T. destruens or T. piniperda are still absent could favour a rapid expansion of their distributions. Our data will be useful when aiming to apply management strategies adapted to each species, and to forecast their potential range expansions/contractions as a result of climate warming.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-11-01

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