Climatic-requirements models of cat‚Äôs claw creeper Macfadyena unguis-cati (Bignoniaceae) to prioritise areas for exploration and release of biological control agents
Rafter M; Wilson A; Wilmot Senaratne K; Dhileepan K
Climate matching software (CLIMEX) was used to prioritise areas to explore for biological control agents in the native range of cat‚Äôs claw creeper Macfadyena unguis-cati (Bignoniaceae) and to prioritise areas to release the agents in the introduced ranges of the plant. The native distribution of cat‚Äôs claw creeper was used to predict the potential range of climatically suitable habitats for cat‚Äôs claw creeper in its introduced ranges. A Composite Match Index (CMI) of cat‚Äôs claw creeper was determined with the ‚ÄòMatch Climates‚Äô function in order to match the ranges in Australia and South Africa where the plant is introduced with its native range in South and Central America. This information was used to determine which areas might yield climatically-adapted agents. Locations in northern Argentina had CMI values which best matched sites with cat‚Äôs claw creeper infestations in Australia and South Africa. None of the sites from where three currently prioritised biological control agents for cat‚Äôs claw creeper were collected had CMI values higher than 0.8. The analysis showed that central and eastern Argentina south Brazil Uruguay and parts of Bolivia and Paraguay should be prioritised for exploration for new biological control agents for cat‚Äôs claw creeper to be used in Australia and South Africa.