Potential distribution and relative abundance of an invasive cereal crop pest, Oulema melanopus (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae), in Canada.
Cereal leaf beetle, Oulema melanopus L., is an invasive pest insect of small grain cereal crops, particularly oat, wheat, and barley. The first report of cereal leaf beetle populations in North America came from Michigan in 1962. Surveys indicate that populations have become established throughout eastern North America from Ontario to Alabama and in northwestern North America from Utah to southern British Columbia. The establishment of O. melanopus in western North America has raised concern that its presence is a potential risk to the Canadian cereal industry, especially in the prairie ecozone of western Canada, where up to 10 million hectares of cereal crops are grown annually. Field surveys to date have indicated that O. melanopus has not yet become established in this region. A CLIMEXTM model for O. melanopus in North America was developed, based on climate and ecological parameters, and validated with actual distribution records. The actual distribution of O. melanopus in eastern North America matched the predicted distribution well. The model predicts that, once introduced, O. melanopus would readily survive in the cereal-growing areas of western Canada and present a significant risk to cereal production. The potential for establishment of O. melanopus in the prairie ecozone of western Canada substantiates the efforts by regulatory agencies to prevent accidental introduction of this pest species.