Effects of projected climate change on the distribution of Mantis religiosa suggest expansion followed by contraction

Steger, Johanna; Schneider, Alexandra; Brandl, Roland; Hotes, Stefan

Climate change influences the global and regional distribution of many species. For thermophilic insects, range expansions towards the north and to higher elevations are expected in the course of climatic warming across the Northern Hemisphere. The distribution of the European mantis (Mantis religiosa) has recently expanded from Mediterranean regions in France to Hesse in central Germany. This is interpreted as a response to rising mean temperatures, and further northward expansion is expected to occur with increasing climate warming. In this study, potential changes in the regional distribution across Hesse were modeled for Mantis religiosa using the present distribution and climate across Europe as the baseline. We estimated potential changes in the regional distribution for two time periods until 2080 based on two climate change scenarios. The results showed that the current range of M. religiosa in Hesse is smaller than expected based on its climatic niche, i.e., the distribution is not in equilibrium with the present climate. With climate warming the model predicts an expansion of the potential distribution for the period 2041–2060. For the period 2061–2080, our model predicts, however, a range contraction in spite of continued warming. This unexpected result warrants further investigation in order to elucidate whether the ongoing climate change may have negative consequences for thermophilic species such as M. religiosa.

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Steger, Johanna / Schneider, Alexandra / Brandl, Roland / et al: Effects of projected climate change on the distribution of Mantis religiosa suggest expansion followed by contraction. 2020. Copernicus Publications.

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