Will Obama be able to invade the world? Potential distribution of O. nungara (Platyhelminthes: Geoplanidae), the neotropical land planarian that colonized Europe.
Obama nungara (Platyhelminthes: Geoplanidae) is a species of terrestrial planaria native to Argentina and Brazil. In 2008, it was found in nurseries in the UK and Spain, and since then, it continues to expand throughout Europe. The ornamental plant trade is probably the main vector of this species, taking into account for their low migratory capacity. Due to its varied diet and its propensity to live in anthropized environments, O. nungara has characteristics to become invasive, being a risk to the diversity of edaphic fauna in colonized areas. Understanding the potential distribution of this species globally is a prerequisite for effective monitoring and control. The maximum entropy algorithm (MaxEnt) was used to simulate the potential distribution of O. nungara, explore the main climatic factors that affect its distribution, and identify regions that could be invaded. A total of 116 points of occurrence and 19 bioclimatic variables (WorldClim) were used. The average value of the AUC test was 0.989 (± 0.0034). The average temperature of the coldest quarter, the thermal seasonality and the precipitations of the driest quarter are the climatic factors that most affect the distribution of O. nungara. The potential distribution shows an expansion through Europe, southeast Australia, New Zealand, southeast China, the Gulf of Mexico and South Africa, which would be favoured by the intense commercial flow of these countries. This information can be used to alert about the potential dispersal of O. nungara in the mentioned areas.