Ensemble evaluation of the potential risk areas of yellow-legged hornet distribution.
Invasion of alien species facilitated by climate change and human assistant is one of global threats that cause irreversible damages on the local flora and fauna. One of these issued species, Vespa velutina nigrithorax du Buysson, 1905 (Hymenoptera:Vespidae), is a significant threat to entomofauna, including honeybees, in the introduced regions. This wasp is still expanding its habitats, prioritizing the development of a reliable species distribution model based on recently updated occurrence data. Therefore, the aim of this study was to evaluate the potential areas that are climatically exposed to V. v. nigrithorax invasion globally and in South Korea, where the wasp has caused severe damage to local ecosystems and apiculture after its recent introduction. We developed a new global scale ensemble model based on CLIMEX and Maxent models and applied it to South Korea using field survey data. As a result, risky areas were predicted to be temperate and subtropical climate regions, including the eastern USA, western Europe, Far East Asia, and small areas in South America and Australia. In particular, South Korea has a high potential risk throughout the country. We expect that this study would provide fundamental data for monitoring the environmental risks caused by V. v. nigrithorax using advanced species distribution modeling.