Papers in the Biological Sciences
Species distribution models and climatic niche comparisons provide clues on the geographic origin of a spider invasion in the Americas
Laura Segura‑Hernandez http://orcid.org/0000-0002-1165-3889
Gilbert Barrantes http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8402-1930
Eduardo Chacon‑Madrigal http://orcid.org/0000-0002-8328-5456
Adrián Garcia‑Rodriguez http://orcid.org/0000-0002-9831-2963
Date of this Version
Published in Biological Invasions, 2022
Identifying the source population of alien species is important to assess the distribution and potential effects in the invaded area. The araneid spider Cyrtophora citricola is widely distributed in Europe, Asia, and Africa; however, in the last 26 years, it has been reported in several countries across the Americas. To date, the geographic origin of the populations established in the Americas remains unclear, but considering the successful colonization after its recent arrival, assessing climatic similarities between the invaded and native geographic ranges could be useful to address this question. In this study, we used a combination of Species Distribution Models and Ordination Methods to assess the climatic match between the invaded region (the Americas) and two potential origins (southern Africa and the Mediterranean) aiming to determine the more likely origin for the populations established in the Americas. We found that the American populations of C. citricola occupy sites with climatic conditions more similar to those occupied by southern African populations, than to those occupied by the Mediterranean populations. Therefore, our results suggest a southern African rather than a Mediterranean origin for the populations established in America. In addition, our results also show that populations in America are spreading into sites that differ in climate conditions from those occupied by native populations. Further studies assessing intrinsic (e.g., physiological tolerances, plasticity, behavior, reproduction) and extrinsic (physical barriers, predator release) factors could provide further information to disentangle the mechanisms behind the geographic and climatic niche expansion of this species.
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