Impacts of climate change on high priority fruit fly species in Australia

Sabira Sultana*, John B. Baumgartner, Bernard C. Dominiak, Jane E. Royer, Linda J. Beaumont

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    24 Citations (Scopus)
    14 Downloads (Pure)


    Tephritid fruit flies are among the most destructive horticultural pests posing risks to Australia’s multi-billion-dollar horticulture industry. Currently, there are 11 pest fruit fly species of economic concern in Australia. Of these, nine are native to this continent (Bactrocera aquilonis, B. bryoniae, B. halfordiae, B. jarvisi, B. kraussi, B. musae, B. neohumeralis, B. tryoni and Zeugodacus cucumis), while B. frauenfeldi and Ceratitis capitata are introduced. To varying degrees these species are costly to Australia’s horticulture through in-farm management, monitoring to demonstrate pest freedom, quarantine and trade restrictions, and crop losses. Here, we used a common species distribution model, Maxent, to assess climate suitability for these 11 species under baseline (1960–1990) and future climate scenarios for Australia. Projections indicate that the Wet Tropics is likely to be vulnerable to all 11 species until at least 2070, with the east coast of Australia also likely to remain vulnerable to multiple species. While the Cape York Peninsula and Northern Territory are projected to have suitable climate for numerous species, extrapolation to novel climates in these areas decreases confidence in model projections. The climate suitability of major horticulture areas currently in eastern Queensland, southern-central New South Wales and southern Victoria to these pests may increase as climate changes. By highlighting areas at risk of pest range expansion in the future our study may guide Australia’s horticulture industry in developing effective monitoring and management strategies.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numbere0213820
    Pages (from-to)1-19
    Number of pages19
    JournalPLoS ONE
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Feb 2020

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