Prediction of changes in habitat distribution of the alfalfa weevil (Hypera postica) using RCP climate change scenarios.
Climate change can affect variables related to the life cycle of insects, including growth, development, survival, reproduction and distribution. As it encourages alien insects to rapidly spread and settle, climate change is regarded as one of the direct causes of decreased biodiversity because it disturbed ecosystems and reduces the population of native species. Hypera postica caused a great deal of damage in the southern provinces of Korea after it was first identified on Jeju Island in the 1990s. In recent years, the number of individuals moving to estivation sites has concerned scientists due to the crop damage and national proliferation. In this study, we examine how climate change could affect inhabitation of H. postica. The MaxEnt model was applied to estimate potential distributions of H. postica using future climate change scenarios, namely, representative concentration pathway (RCP) 4.5 and RCP 8.5. As variables of the model, this study used six bio-climates (bio3, bio6, bio10, bio12, bio14, and bio16) in consideration of the ecological characteristics of 66 areas where inhabitation of H. postica was confirmed from 2015 to 2017, and in consideration of the interrelation between prediction variables. The fitness of the model was measured at a considered potentially useful level of 0.765 on average, and the warmest quarter has a high contribution rate of 60-70%. Prediction models (RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5) results for the year 2050 and 2070 indicated that H. postica habitats are projected to expand across the Korean peninsula due to increasing temperatures.