USDA National Wildlife Research Center Symposia


Date of this Version



Published in: Witmer, G. W., W. C. Pitt, and K. A. Fagerstone, editors. 2007. Managing vertebrate invasive species: proceedings of an international symposium. USDA/APHIS Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. Also available online at


Climate matching identifies extralimital destinations that could be colonized by a potential invasive species on the basis of similarity to climates found in the species’ native range. Climate is a proxy for the factors that determine whether a population will reproduce enough to offset mortality. Previous climate matching models (e.g., Genetic Algorithm for Rule-set Prediction [GARP]) for brown treesnakes (Boiga irregularis) were unsatisfactory, perhaps because the models failed to allow different combinations of climate attributes to influence a species’ range limits in different parts of the range. Therefore, we explored the climate space described by bivariate parameters of native range temperature and rainfall, allowing up to two months of aestivation in the warmer portions of the range, or four months of hibernation in temperate climes. We found colonization area to be minimally sensitive to assumptions regarding hibernation temperature thresholds. Although brown treesnakes appear to be limited by dry weather in the interior of Australia, aridity rarely limits potential distribution in most of the world. Potential colonization area in North America is limited primarily by cold. Climatically suitable portions of the United States (US) mainland include the Central Valley of California, mesic patches in the Southwest, and the southeastern coastal plain from Texas to Virginia.