Schrankia costaestrigalis is a newly-reported potato pest in southern China. The larvae damage potato tubers by feeding on tubers and foliage, either in the field or during storage. The pest has caused great economic losses to farmers in the winter and early-spring potato planting areas. Early-warning monitoring of this pest could protect domestic potato production. Based on the environmental data (temperature and precipitation variables) and human influence index, the optimal species distribution model was used to estimate the potential geographical distribution in China under climate change. Results showed that highly suitable habitats of S. ostaestrigalis were mainly located in Guangxi, Guangdong, Hong Kong, Fujian and Hainan. The potential geographical distribution of S. ostaestrigalis in China will decrease under climate change, which shows a general tendency to move northeast and to the middle-high latitudes in the 2030s. The agricultural practice of plastic film mulching in potato fields will provide a favorable microclimate for S. ostaestrigalis in the suitable areas. More attention should be paid to the early warning and monitoring of S. ostaestrigalis in order to prevent its further spread in the China’s winter potato planting regions. The cover photo depicts the developmental stages of S. ostaestrigalis, which is provided by Dr. Xian Xiaoqing and Ph D student Zhao Haoxiang from Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Beijing. See pages 2441–2455 for details.