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1 August 2001 Modeling Temperature-Dependent Range Limits for the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the United States
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We predict the future range of the fire ant Solenopsis invicta Buren within the United States based on climate and its current extreme distributions. To reach that goal, a dynamic model of colony growth with two time steps per day was formulated that operates by colony area, S, and alate production, a. Colony growth rate depended on daily maximum and minimum soil temperatures. Temperature records at 4,537 meteorological stations within the current (near 1.5 million km2) and potential range of S. invicta were obtained from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center. At each station, a colony was allowed to grow and lifetime female alate production was calculated. Estimated alate production was then examined at current extremes of the fire ant distribution at selected locations in Arkansas, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. Estimates from these locations were used to define four zones of colony proliferation success: certain, possible, undemonstrated, and improbable. An annual precipitation limit (510 mm) was selected to indicate regions where arid conditions may prohibit growth in areas without supplemental water sources. Results of the model predict that S. invicta will likely move 80–150 km north in Oklahoma and Arkansas. It will also likely continue expanding into portions of Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware in the east and New Mexico, Arizona, California, Oregon, Nevada, and maybe even Washington and Utah in the west.

Michael D. Korzukhin, Sanford D. Porter, Lynne C. Thompson, and Suzanne Wiley "Modeling Temperature-Dependent Range Limits for the Fire Ant Solenopsis invicta (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in the United States," Environmental Entomology 30(4), 645-655, (1 August 2001).
Received: 23 October 2000; Accepted: 1 April 2001; Published: 1 August 2001

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