Data from: One step ahead: a parasitoid disperses farther and forms a wider geographic population than its fig wasp host
Sutton, Timothy L.; Riegler, Markus; Cook, James M. (2015), Data from: One step ahead: a parasitoid disperses farther and forms a wider geographic population than its fig wasp host, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.1fs13
The structure of populations across landscapes influences the dynamics of their interactions with other species. Understanding the geographic structure of populations can thus shed light on the potential for interacting species to coevolve. Host – parasitoid interactions are widespread in nature, and also represent a significant force in the evolution of plant – insect interactions. However, there have been few comparisons of population structure between an insect host and its parasitoid. We used microsatellite markers to analyse the population genetic structure of Pleistodontes imperialis sp. 1, a fig-pollinating wasp of Port Jackson fig (Ficus rubiginosa), and its main parasitoid, Sycoscapter sp. A, in eastern Australia. Besides exploring this host – parasitoid system, our study also constitutes, to our knowledge, the first study of population structure in a non-pollinating fig wasp species. We collected matched samples of pollinators and parasitoids at several sites in two regions separated by up to 2000 km. We found that pollinators occupying the two regions represent distinct populations, but, in contrast, parasitoids formed a single population across the wide geographic range sampled. We observed genetic isolation by distance for each species, but found consistently lower FST and RST values between sites for parasitoids compared with pollinators. Previous studies have indicated that pollinators of monoecious figs can disperse over very long distances, and we provide the first genetic evidence that their parasitoids may disperse as far, if not farther. The contrasting geographic population structures of host and parasitoid highlight the potential for geographic mosaics in this important symbiotic system.