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Journal of Geographical Sciences    2018, Vol. 28 Issue (12) : 1965-1974     DOI: 10.1007/s11442-018-1574-x
Research Articles |
Potential range expansion of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) in China under climate change
WANG Huanjiong1(),WANG Hui1,TAO Zexing1,2,GE Quansheng1,*()
1. Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
2. University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
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The red imported fire ant (RIFA, Solenopsis invicta), a notorious invasive insect, has received considerable attention owing to its impacts on native biodiversity, agriculture, and human health. Under global warming, the inhabitable area of the RIFA may be enlarged. However, few studies have focused on the potential range expansion of the RIFA in East Asia. Using a process-based physiological model, we simulated the potential range of the RIFA in China based on gridded temperature datasets for the current (2004-2012) and future (2090-2100) climates under Representative Concentration Pathway (RCP) 4.5 and RCP 8.5. It was found that the southeastern part of China (below 32°N) is suitable for RIFA proliferation. The present distribution area of the RIFA corresponds well with the potential range simulated by the model. In the RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 warming scenarios, the inhabitable area of the RIFA along the northern boundary would on average extend 101.3±85.7 (mean±SD) and 701.2±156.9 km, respectively, by the end of the 21st century. Therefore, future climate change would significantly affect the inhabitable area of the RIFA. Our results provide the basis for local quarantine officials to curtail accidental introductions of this insect, especially in the certain and possible infestation zones.

Keywords biological invasions      distribution      climate change      red imported fire ant      Solenopsis invicta     
Fund:National Key Research and Development Program of China, No.2016YFC1201302
Corresponding Authors: GE Quansheng     E-mail:;
Issue Date: 27 December 2018
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WANG Huanjiong
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WANG Huanjiong,WANG Hui,TAO Zexing, et al. Potential range expansion of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) in China under climate change[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2018, 28(12): 1965-1974.
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Types Conditions
Certain infestation asum≥3900 and P≥510 mm
Possible infestation 1500≤asum<3900 and P≥510 mm
Unlikely infestation asum<1500 or P<510 mm
Table 1  Different possibilities of the reproductive success of the red imported fire ant (RIFA). asum: the total number of alates produced by a colony during its lifetime. P: mean annual precipitation during 2004-2012.
Figure 1  Potential (a) and current (b) range of the red imported fire ant (RIFA) in China. The number of each province/region shown in Figure 1 (b) corresponds to the number in Table 2.
No. Name Total area Current area Potential range (%) Comparison (%)
Certain Possible Unlikely Certain Possible Unlikely
23 Hainan 291 93(32.0%) 98.6 1.4 0.0 100.0 0.0 0.0
21 Guangdong 1559 956(61.3%) 92.5 4.9 2.6 94.0 4.2 1.8
18 Guangxi 2103 679(32.3%) 85.6 9.2 5.1 97.1 2.5 0.4
15 Jiangxi 1527 174(11.4%) 79.6 12.6 7.9 92.0 5.7 2.3
20 Fujian 1103 121(11.0%) 62.0 24.1 13.9 80.2 12.4 7.4
22 Hong Kong 26 8(30.8%) 57.7 0.0 42.3 87.5 0.0 12.5
19 Taiwan 322 62(19.3%) 57.1 9.6 33.2 59.7 17.7 22.6
12 Shanghai 59 NaN 55.9 32.2 11.9 NaN NaN NaN
14 Hunan 1929 24(1.2%) 55.7 24.0 20.4 62.5 33.3 4.2
11 Chongqing 770 13(1.7%) 40.4 22.9 36.8 84.6 15.4 0.0
10 Hubei 1755 NaN 39.7 21.9 38.4 NaN NaN NaN
13 Zhejiang 937 NaN 38.5 33.5 28.0 NaN NaN NaN
8 Anhui 1331 NaN 22.8 63.3 14.0 NaN NaN NaN
9 Sichuan 4552 54(1.2%) 20.3 7.8 71.9 24.1 25.9 50.0
16 Yunnan 3422 738(21.6%) 18.6 15.9 65.5 29.0 27.6 43.4
17 Guizhou 1603 NaN 9.8 25.0 65.2 NaN NaN NaN
7 Jiangsu 976 NaN 2.0 61.4 36.6 NaN NaN NaN
4 Shaanxi 2041 NaN 1.5 4.7 93.8 NaN NaN NaN
2 Shanxi 1599 NaN 0.3 1.2 98.5 NaN NaN NaN
6 Henan 1612 NaN 0.0 35.2 64.8 NaN NaN NaN
0 Hebei 1967 NaN 0.0 0.0 100.0 NaN NaN NaN
1 Beijing 175 NaN 0.0 0.0 100.0 NaN NaN NaN
3 Tianjin 121 NaN 0.0 0.0 100.0 NaN NaN NaN
5 Shandong 1546 NaN 0.0 0.0 100.0 NaN NaN NaN
Table 2  Comparisons between the potential and current range of the red imported fire ant (RIFA) for each province or region
Figure 2  Potential range of the red imported fire ant (RIFA) in the warming scenarios. The northern boundary of the potential and certain infestation zones of the RIFA in the current climate condition (2004-2013) are shown: (a) RCP 4.5; (b) RCP 8.5.
Figure 3  The factors limiting RIFA distribution in China. T: temperature; P: precipitation.
Number Name RCP 4.5 RCP 8.5
6 Henan 9 1482
17 Guizhou 594 1388
5 Shandong 0 1309
16 Yunnan 259 1290
8 Anhui 455 1028
7 Jiangsu 316 956
14 Hunan 753 855
10 Hubei 101 846
13 Zhejiang 565 565
20 Fujian 417 417
0 Hebei 0 400
11 Chongqing 33 373
9 Sichuan ?139 336
15 Jiangxi 312 312
18 Guangxi 248 302
19 Taiwan 133 133
21 Guangdong 112 112
12 Shanghai 19 19
4 Shaanxi ?31 11
2 Shanxi ?5 9
23 Hainan 4 4
1 Beijing 0 0
3 Tianjin 0 0
22 Hong Kong 0 0
Table 3  The difference in the number of cells within the certain infestation zone of the red imported fire ant (RIFA) between the 2000s and the 2090s in RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5.
Model parameters Values
Max territory area, Smax 100 m2
Territory area at which worker mortality causes colony death, Smin 0.02 m2
Minimum area for colony production Srep 10 m2
Initial territory area, S0 0.01 m2
Queen longevity, tmax 3000 days
Colony proliferation parameter, q 89
The day of the year when colony founding, J0 165
Temperature when colony growth begins, T1 21°C
Table S1  Standard values of model parameters derived from Korzukhin et al. (2001))
Figure S1  Three empirical curves used in the model of Korzukhin et al. (2001). (a) Colony growth rate in response to soil temperature (T). (b) Worker longevity L(T). 1/L(T) represents the colony decrease rate in response to T. (c) The share of resources directed to alate production f(DOY). DOY: day of the year.
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