Seasonal variations are important components in understanding the ecology of insect population of crops. Ecological studies through modeling may be a useful tool for enhancing knowledge of seasonal patterns of insects on field crops as well as seasonal patterns of favorable climatic conditions for species. Recently CLIMEX, a semi-mechanistic niche model, was upgraded and enhanced to consider spatio-temporal dynamics of climate suitability through time. In this study, attempts were made to determine monthly variations of climate suitability for Neoleucinodes elegantalis (Guenée) (Lepidoptera: Crambidae) in five commercial tomato crop localities through the latest version of CLIMEX. We observed that N. elegantalis displays seasonality with increased abundance in tomato crops during summer and autumn, corresponding to the first 6 months of the year in monitored areas in this study. Our model demonstrated a strong accord between the CLIMEX weekly growth index (GIw) and the density of N. elegantalis for this period, thus indicating a greater confidence in our model results. Our model shows a seasonal variability of climatic suitability for N. elegantalis and provides useful information for initiating methods for timely management, such as sampling strategies and control, during periods of high degree of suitability for N. elegantalis. In this study, we ensure that the simulation results are valid through our verification using field data.
- Small tomato borer
- Spatio-temporal dynamics