Biological Invasions

, Volume 16, Issue 5, pp 1069–1081 | Cite as

Effect of geographic background and equilibrium state on niche model transferability: predicting areas of invasion of Leptoglossus occidentalis

  • Geng-Ping Zhu
  • Dávid Rédei
  • Petr Kment
  • Wen-Jun Bu
Original Paper


Niche conservatism providing support for using ecological niche modeling in biological invasions has been widely noticed, however, the equilibrium state and geographic background effect on niche model transferability has received scant attention. The western conifer seed bug, Leptoglossus occidentalis, native to western North America, has expanded its range eastward and has become an invasive pest in Europe and Asia. Niche models calibrated on the ranges of a small native population and two large expanding populations were compared. We found that the climate niche of L. occidentalis is conserved during its steady expansion in North America and rapid spread in Europe. Models based on the small western native range successfully captured the eastern expanding and introduced European populations, whereas the large area-based models varied with the presumed state of equilibrium. The equilibrium state based model succeeded but the non-equilibrium based model failed to predict the range in Europe. Our study estimates global invasion risk zones for L. occidentalis and suggests that, based on niche conservatism, modeling based on a reasonable geographic distribution at a climatic equilibrium of a species could guarantee the transferability of niche model prediction. Caution is warranted in interpreting low niche model transferability with niche differentiation and forwarding message for management strategy.


Biological invasion Ecological niche modeling (ENM) Niche conservatism Transferability Geographic background Equilibrium 



Funding for this research was supported by the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation (2012M510744 and 20110490769), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (J0630963), the institutional support of the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic for the National Museum, Prague (DKRVO MK-S 760/2012 and 2013/12 OVV), and a talent introduction program award to Gengping Zhu in Tianjin Normal University. The authors wish to thanks Harry Brailovsky, Gavril Marius Berchi, Berend Aukema, Dimitry A. Gapon, and Santiago Pagola-Carte for their assistance in providing locality data, and Roman Businský for discussion on the distribution of pine trees. We are grateful to Town Peterson for his careful review of our manuscript and to Julieta Brambila for several comments on language and style.

Supplementary material

10530_2013_559_MOESM1_ESM.docx (119 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 120 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Geng-Ping Zhu
    • 1
  • Dávid Rédei
    • 2
    • 3
  • Petr Kment
    • 4
  • Wen-Jun Bu
    • 2
  1. 1.Tianjin Key Laboratory of Animal and Plant Resistance, College of Life SciencesTianjin Normal UniversityTianjinChina
  2. 2.College of Life SciencesNankai UniversityTianjinChina
  3. 3.Department of ZoologyHungarian Natural History MuseumBudapestHungary
  4. 4.Department of EntomologyNational MuseumPragueCzech Republic

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