Prediction of migratory routes of the invasive fall armyworm in eastern China using a trajectory analytical approach.
BACKGROUND: The fall armyworm (FAW), an invasive pest from the Americas, is rapidly spreading through the Old World, and has recently invaded the Indochinese Peninsula and southern China. In the Americas, FAW migrates from winter-breeding areas in the south into summer-breeding areas throughout North America where it is a major pest of corn. Asian populations are also likely to evolve migrations into the corn-producing regions of eastern China, where they will pose a serious threat to food security. RESULTS: To evaluate the invasion risk in eastern China, the rate of expansion and future migratory range was modelled by a trajectory simulation approach, combined with flight behavior and meteorological data. Our results predict that FAW will migrate from its new year-round breeding regions into the two main corn-producing regions of eastern China (Huang-Huai-Hai Summer Corn and Northeast Spring Corn Regions), via two pathways. The western pathway originates in Myanmar and Yunnan, and FAW will take four migration steps (i.e. four generations) to reach the Huang-Huai-Hai Region by July. Migration along the eastern pathway from Indochina and southern China progresses faster, with FAW reaching the Huang-Huai-Hai Region in three steps by June and reaching the Northeast Spring Region in July. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that there is a high risk that FAW will invade the major corn-producing areas of eastern China via two migration pathways, and cause significant impacts to agricultural productivity. Information on migration pathways and timings can be used to inform integrated pest management strategies for this emerging pest.