Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2018, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (12): 1965-1974.doi: 10.1007/s11442-018-1574-x

• Research Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Potential range expansion of the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta) in China under climate change

Huanjiong WANG1(), Hui WANG1, Zexing TAO1,2, Quansheng GE1,*()   

  1. 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
  • Received:2017-06-12 Accepted:2017-11-16 Online:2018-12-20 Published:2018-12-20
  • Contact: Quansheng GE;
  • About author:

    Author: Wang Huanjiong: Associate Professor, specialized in climate change and biometeorology. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Key Research and Development Program of China, No.2016YFC1201302


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.

Key words: biological invasions, distribution, climate change, red imported fire ant, Solenopsis invicta