Niche modeling of economically important Mahanarva (Hemiptera, Cercopidae) species in South and Central America: are Brazilian spittlebug sugarcane pests potential invaders of south and Central America?
Mahanarva fimbriolata, Mahanarva spectabilis, Mahanarva liturata, and Mahanarva posticata (Hemiptera: Cercopidae) are known pests in South American sugarcane and pasture plantations. They cause phytotoxicity by feeding directly from plant sap, greatly decreasing their production. In this work, we applied Species Distribution Modeling using the Maxent algorithm to analyze these four spittlebug species possible occurrence in South and Central America. Therefore, current and future bioclimatic variables, as well as elevation and other agricultural variables, were used within RStudio. Future climatic variables were differentiated between the years 2050 and 2070 with several representative concentration pathways. Overall, the species showed various suitable habitats in different countries of South and Central America. Nevertheless, when compared with future climate analysis, the number of suitable habitats is declining due to climate change. Elevation, isothermality, and different precipitation variables were mainly responsible for the results. We were able to analyze that spittlebug populations are not limited by temperature, but rather by other abiotic factors, such as precipitation.