Global analysis of the seasonal abundance of the invasive pest Drosophila suzukii reveal temperature extremes determine population activity potential.
BACKGROUND: The global pest spotted winged drosophila (Drosophila suzukii) continues to have a significant economic impact on fruit production in areas where it is established, in addition to newly invaded ranges. Management activities spanning national biosecurity responses to farm-scale pest control are limited by the inability to predict the timing and severity of seasonal outbreaks of D. suzukii and its climatic drivers. RESULTS: Here, we compiled and analysed data on international seasonal abundances for D. suzukii under different climates, crop types and management contexts to improve the predictability of seasonal population dynamics. In relating seasonal abundances to environmental predictors, specifically temperature, we found strong negative effects of exposure to high and low temperatures during the preceding month. Unlike most regional studies on D. suzukii phenology that focus on temperature in the physiological development range, we show that thermal extremes better explain seasonal population fluctuations. CONCLUSION: Although trap catches remain an indirect measure of infestations and must be interpreted carefully in terms of crop risk, our results should support monitoring programmes through enhanced knowledge of the climatic factors affecting D. suzukii population activity. The negative impact of high temperatures suggests that late-season management strategies focusing on manipulating crop microclimates to temperatures above 25°C can reduce D. suzukii abundance. We show that early season abundance is modulated by climate, particularly the depth of cold extremes experienced in the preceding time interval. These associations may be further developed into early-season crop risk forecasts to support monitoring programs.