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Potential distribution and relative abundance of swede midge, Contarinia nasturtii, an invasive pest in Canada


*Correspondence: O. Olfert, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Saskatoon Research Centre, 107 Science Place, Saskatoon, SK S7N 0X2, Canada. E-mail:


The swede midge, Contarinia nasturtii (Kieffer) (Diptera: Cecidomyiidae), is a pest of most cultivated Brassicaceae such as broccoli, canola, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts. The species primarily has a Palaearctic distribution and occurs throughout Europe and southwestern Asia to the Caucasus. Between 1996 and 1999, producers of cruciferous vegetables in Ontario, Canada, reported crop damage that was consistent with damage symptoms characteristic of C. nasturtii feeding and in 2000, field studies confirmed that this damage was caused by C. nasturtii. A bioclimatic model was developed to predict potential range and relative abundance of C. nasturtii in Canada in order to determine the impact of the establishment and spread of C. nasturtii populations. Model output indicated that C. nasturtii could potentially become established in all provinces of Canada, with the risk being greatest in southwestern British Columbia, southern Ontario and Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island. Results indicated that C. nasturtii population growth in the Prairie Ecozone of western Canada would be greatest in years with above average precipitation.