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Open AccessArticle

Where Did You Come From? Where Did You Go? Investigating the Origin of Invasive Leptocybe Species Using Distribution Modelling

1
Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Victoria 3086, Australia
2
Kenya Forestry Research Institute, Nairobi, Kenya
3
Forest Industries Research Centre, University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland 4558, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Forests 2019, 10(2), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/f10020115
Received: 12 December 2018 / Revised: 30 January 2019 / Accepted: 30 January 2019 / Published: 1 February 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Exotic Forest Pest and Pathogen Risks)
Research Highlights: We present the first attempts to model the distributions of the two cryptic and globally invasive species of Leptocybe invasa sensu lato (Fisher & LaSalle) (Hymenoptera: Eulophidae) in its purported country of origin, namely Australia. Background and Objectives: Leptocybe invasa is an invasive eucalypt-galling wasp that spread quickly all over the world in the early to mid-2000’s, achieving significant pest status through its severe impacts on the growth and productivity of extra-limital eucalypt plantations. Until its discovery in Europe and the Middle East, the genus was undescribed, and its native range remains unclear. Molecular studies indicate the globally invasive population comprises two cryptic species with variable modes of reproduction. Collection records from Australia, the purported origin, represent only one of the invasive lineages, restricted to subtropical and tropical Queensland and northern New South Wales. To date, the original invasive lineage has not been found in Australia, despite searches over the seventeen years that it has been spreading overseas. Materials and Methods: To understand the distributions of the invasive populations, and to infer Leptocybe spp. native ranges within Australia, we used correlative niche modelling in Maximum Entropy (MaxEnt) and multivariate analysis, and created a CLIMEX model based on development rates of an invasive population. Results: We used the environmental conditions in the extra-limital range to infer possible origins, with our findings supporting the possibility that the invasive populations may have originated from different populations in Australia. Conclusions: We highlight the need for better understanding of the distribution, genetic diversity, and reproductive mode of the species within Australia. The variety of climatic niches occupied by invasive lineages of the wasp potentially present new threats to eucalypts in previously uninfested habitats. View Full-Text
Keywords: biosecurity; CLIMEX; Eucalyptus; invasion ecology; Leptocybe invasa; MaxEnt; niche model; pest insects; risk assessment; species distribution models biosecurity; CLIMEX; Eucalyptus; invasion ecology; Leptocybe invasa; MaxEnt; niche model; pest insects; risk assessment; species distribution models
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MDPI and ACS Style

Otieno, B.A.; Nahrung, H.F.; Steinbauer, M.J. Where Did You Come From? Where Did You Go? Investigating the Origin of Invasive Leptocybe Species Using Distribution Modelling. Forests 2019, 10, 115.

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