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Modelling the potential global distribution of suitable habitat for the biological control agent Heterorhabditis indica


Kour, Sumeet (2022), Modelling the potential global distribution of suitable habitat for the biological control agent Heterorhabditis indica, Dryad, Dataset,


Entomopathogenic nematode (EPN) Heterorhabditis indica is a promising biocontrol candidate. Despite the acknowledged importance of EPN in pest control, no extensive data sets or maps have been developed on their distribution at global level. This study is the first attempt to generate Ecological Niche Models (ENM) for H. indica and its global Habitat Suitability Map (HSM) to generate biogeographical information and predicts its global geographical range of prospective areas for its exploration and to help identify the suitable release areas for biocontrol purpose. The aim of the modelling exercise was to access the influence of temperature and soil moisture on the biogeographical patterns of H. indica at the global level. CLIMEX software was used to model the distribution of H. indica and access to the influence of environmental variable on its global distribution. In total, 162 records of H. indica occurrence from 27 countries over 25 years was combined to generate the known distribution data. The model was further fine-tuned using the direct experimental observations of the H. indica’s growth response to temperature and soil moisture. Model predicts much of the tropics and subtropics has suitable climatic conditions for H. indica. It further predicts that H. indica distribution can extends into warmer temperate climates. Examination of the model output, predictions maps at a global level indicate that H. indica distribution may be limited by cold stress, heat stress and dry stresses in different areas. However, cold stress appears to be the major limiting factor. This study, highlighted an efficient way to construct HSM for EPN potentially useful in the search/release of target species in new locations. The study showed that H. indica which is known as warm adapted EPN generally found in tropics and subtropics can potentially establish itself in warmer temperate climates as well. The model can also be used to decide the release timing of EPN by adjusting with season for maximum growth. The model developed in the current study clearly identified the value and potential of Habitat Suitability Map (HSM) in planning of future surveys and application of H. indica.


In total, 155 records of H. indica occurrence from published research papers and 7 records from online database Global Biodiversity Information Facility database (GBIF) ( were combined to generate the known distribution data. Not all published research papers provided exact geographic coordinates for positive sites so in those cases the Google Earth ( and the Google Maps ( were used to best determine coordinates for the occurrence site. Duplicate records were removed


The University of the South Pacific