The naturalization status of African Spotted Orchid (Oeceoclades maculata) in Neotropics
ecological niche modeling, invasion, naturalization, Neotropics, orchids
Naturalization status of the African orchid species introduced in the Neotropics, Oeceoclades maculata, was studied. Ecological niche modeling was applied to estimate the present distribution of the suitable habitats for the African Spotted Orchid. The similarity of the niches occupied by natural and invasive populations of the studied species was calculated. Moreover, future distribution of its suitable habitats was estimated on the basis of three different climatic change scenarios and the potential further expansion scale was calculated based on range overlap test. While currently O. maculata seems to have reached its potential limits of invasion in South America and as for now it should not spread to the new habitats, the species still has a potential of invasiveness in North America. The future climate changes will probably result in shifts in the distribution of African Spotted Orchid suitable niches thereby causing its expansion to the new areas.