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Ecological niches and potential geographical distributions of Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) and Natal fruit fly (Ceratitis rosa)

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Abstract Aim 

To predict and compare potential geographical distributions of the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata) and Natal fruit fly (Ceratitis rosa). Location 

Africa, southern Europe, and worldwide. Methods 

Two correlative ecological niche modelling techniques, genetic algorithm for rule-set prediction (GARP) and a technique based on principal components analysis (PCA), were used to predict distributions of the two fly species using distribution records and a set of environmental predictor variables. Results 

The two species appear to have broadly similar potential ranges in Africa and southern Europe, with much of sub-Saharan Africa and Madagascar predicted as highly suitable. The drier regions of Africa (central and western regions of southern Africa and Sahelian zone) were identified as being less suitable for C. rosa than for C. capitata. Overall, the proportion of the region predicted to be highly suitable is larger for C. capitata than for C. rosa under both techniques, suggesting that C. capitata may be tolerant of a wider range of climatic conditions than C. rosa. Worldwide, tropical and subtropical regions are highlighted as highly suitable for both species. Differences in overlap of predictions from the two models for these species were observed. An evaluation using independent records from the adventive range for C. capitata and comparison with other predictions suggest that GARP models offer more accurate predictions than PCA models. Main conclusions 

This study suggests that these species have broadly similar potential distributions worldwide (based on climate), although the potential distribution appears to be broader for C. capitata than for C. rosa. Ceratitis capitata has become invasive throughout the world, whereas C. rosa has not, despite both species having broadly similar potential distributions. Further research into the biology of these species and their ability to overcome barriers is necessary to explain this difference, and to better understand invasion risk.
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Keywords: Ceratitis capitata; Ceratitis rosa; GARP; PCA; ecological niche models; fruit flies; potential distribution

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Royal Museum for Central Africa, Entomology Section, Tervuren, B-3080 Tervuren, Belgium 2: Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045, USA

Publication date: February 1, 2008

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