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Assessing the Potential for Establishment of Western Cherry Fruit Fly Using Ecological Niche Modeling


Sweet cherries, Prunus avium (L.) L., grown in the western United States are exported to many countries around the world. Some of these countries have enforced strict quarantine rules and trade restrictions owing to concerns about the potential establishment and subsequent spread of western cherry fruit, Rhagoletis indifferens Curran (Diptera: Tephritidae), a major quarantine pest of sweet cherry. We used 1) niche models (CLIMEX and MaxEnt) to map the climatic suitability, 2) North Carolina State University Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Plant Pest Forecasting System to examine chilling requirement, and 3) host distribution and availability to assess the potential for establishment of R. indifferens in areas of western North America where it currently does not exist and eight current or potential fresh sweet cherry markets: Colombia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam. Results from niche models conformed well to the current distribution of R. indifferens in western North America. MaxEnt and CLIMEX models had high performance and predicted climatic suitability in some of the countries (e.g., Andean range in Colombia and Venezuela, northern and northeastern India, central Taiwan, and parts of Vietnam). However, our results showed no potential for establishment of R. indifferens in Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Venezuela, and Vietnam when the optimal chilling requirement to break diapause (minimum temperature 3C for at least 15 wk) was used as the criterion for whether establishment can occur. Furthermore, these countries have no host plant species available for R. indifferens. Our results can be used to make scientifically informed international trade decisions and negotiations by policy makers


  • Rhagoletis indifferens


  • Prunus avium


Type File Size
Pest Risk Analysis Download 2,36MB

PRA Area

  • Colombia
  • India
  • Indonesia
  • Malaysia
  • Taiwan
  • Thailand
  • Venezuela