Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Global bioclimatic suitability for the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), and potential co-occurrence with major host crops under climate change scenarios.

Abstract

The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda, is a highly invasive species native to North America that is rapidly spreading to other parts of the world. Since its first discovery outside its native range, the species has rapidly spread to more than 26 countries in Africa and has been recently discovered in India, demonstrating its high potential to spread and invade. This species can have massive damage to crops, especially maize, posing major socioeconomic challenges. While its spread is attributed to transportation in fruits and vegetables, its invasiveness is attributed to its high capacity to adapt in different environments. With expected climate change scenarios, it is possible that this species will invade other areas to the planet, thus increasing the damage to major agricultural crops. This paper aims to understand the global potential for the spread of the species and its associated impacts on major host plants, globally. For this, the article is based on modelling the distribution of species, combining records of occurrence of species globally and bioclimatic variables to identify the areas that are climatically suitable for species in present and future scenarios under climate change. Simulations indicate that there is an enormous climatic potential for the spread of the species, with potential increases between 12 and 44% in the future, mostly affecting border areas between the USA and Canada, Sub-Saharan Africa and central Europe. This spread will increase the potential for interactions between the fall armyworm and its main host plants, thus increasing the potential crop damage globally.