Bioclimatic zonation and potential distribution of Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) in south Kivu Province, DR Congo.
Background: The fall Armyworm (FAW) Spodoptera frugiperda (JE Smith), is currently a devastating pest throughout the world due to its dispersal capacity and voracious feeding behaviour on several crops. A MaxEnt species distributions model (SDM) was developed based on collected FAW occurrence and environmental data's. Bioclimatic zones were identified and the potential distribution of FAW in South Kivu, eastern DR Congo, was predicted. Results: Mean annual temperature (bio1), annual rainfall (bio12), temperature seasonality (bio4) and longest dry season duration (llds) mainly affected the FAW potential distribution. The average area under the curve value of the model was 0.827 demonstrating the model efficient accuracy. According to Jackknife test of variable importance, the annual rainfall was found to correspond to the highest gain when used in isolation. FAWs' suitable areas where this pest is likely to be present in South Kivu province are divided into two corridors. The Eastern corridor covering the Eastern areas of Kalehe, Kabare, Walungu, Uvira and Fizi territories and the Western corridor covering the Western areas of Kalehe, Kabare, Walungu and Mwenga. Conclusions: This research provides important information on the distribution of FAW and bioclimatic zones in South Kivu. Given the rapid spread of the insect and the climatic variability observed in the region that favor its development and dispersal, it would be planned in the future to develop a monitoring system and effective management strategies to limit it spread and crop damage.