n African Entomology - Predicting geographic distribution of seven forensically significant blowfly species (Diptera: Calliphoridae) in South Africa

Volume 17, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1021-3589



The predicted geographic distributions of seven forensically important blowfly species are modelled using the computer program Maxent, based on selected climatic variables for South Africa, a country with large climatic and environmental gradients. It is shown that although temperature was hypothesized to most influence the distributions of these ectotherms, moisture, and particularly humidity, was in fact usually paramount. (Wiedemann) and (Robineau-Desvoidy) had the most widespread geographic and climatic distribution, while the forest-associated (Walker) was the least widespread. (Wiedemann) and (Fabricius) had very similar predicted distributions that were restricted mainly to Limpopo, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal and the coast of the Eastern Cape. (Wiedemann) and (Jaennicke) were the only species predicted to occur at high altitudes. Blowfly distributions restricted to part of the map area were predicted better than those that were more widespread in the region, presumably because species with extremely widespread distributions in a study area occupy nearly the whole range of variation of most predictor variables, leaving little variation with which the maximum entropy modelling method can discriminate between presence and absence of the organism.

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