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Keywords:

  • Blue oat mites;
  • climate change;
  • cryptic species;
  • ecological niche modelling;
  • maxent;
  • Penthaleus spp.;
  • species distribution modelling
  • 1
    Invertebrate pests, such as blue oat mites Penthaleus spp., cause significant economic damage to agricultural crops in Australia. Climate is a major driver of invertebrate species distributions and climate change is expected to shift pest assemblages and pest prevalence across Australia. At this stage, little is known of how individual species will respond to climate change.
  • 2
    We have mapped the current distribution for each of the three pest Penthaleus spp. in Australia and built ecological niche models for each species using the correlative modelling software, maxent. Predictor variables useful for describing the climate space of each species were determined and the models were projected into a range of future climate change scenarios to assess how climate change may alter species-specific distribution patterns in Australia.
  • 3
    The distributions of the three cryptic Penthaleus spp. are best described with different sets of climatic variables. Suitable climate space for all species decreases under the climate change scenarios investigated in the present study. The models also indicate that the assemblage of Penthaleus spp. is likely to change across Australia, particularly in Western Australia, South Australia and Victoria.
  • 4
    These results show the distributions of the three Penthaleus spp. are correlated with different climatic variables, and that regional control of mite pests is likely to change in the future. A further understanding of ecological and physiological processes that may influence the distribution and pest status of mites is required.