Projecting potential distribution of Eucryptorrhynchus scrobiculatus Motschulsky and E. brandti (Harold) under historical climate and RCP 8.5 scenario.
Ailanthus altissima (Mill.) Swingle and its variant A. altissima var. Qiantouchun are notorious invasive weeds. Two weevils, Eucryptorrhynchus scrobiculatus (ESC) and E. brandti (EBR) are considered as candidates for biological control of A. altissima. The aim of this study was to model the potential distributions of ESC and EBR using CLIMEX 4.0. The projected potential distributions of ESC and EBR included almost all current distribution areas of A. altissima, except Southeast Asia. Under historical climate, potential distribution area of EBR is larger than that of ESC, 46.67×106 km2 and 35.65×106 km2, respectively. For both ESC and EBR, climate change expanded the northern boundary of potential distributions northward approximately 600 km by the middle of 21st century, and 1000 km by the end of 21st century under RCP 8.5. However, the suitable range decreased to the south in the Southern Hemisphere because of heat stress. The modelled potential distributions of ESC and EBR in the United States demonstrated that the climate was suitable for both weevils. Therefore, considering only climate suitability, both ESC and EBR can be considered as potential biological control agents against A. altissima with some confidence that climatic conditions are likely suitable.