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Data from: Ultraconserved elements reconstruct the evolution of the Chagas disease-vectoring kissing bugs (Reduviidae: Triatominae)

Cite this dataset

Kieran, Troy J. et al. (2021). Data from: Ultraconserved elements reconstruct the evolution of the Chagas disease-vectoring kissing bugs (Reduviidae: Triatominae) [Dataset]. Dryad.


With about 150 species, Triatominae, the kissing bugs, are the largest radiation of hematophagous species within the Hemiptera. Kissing bugs are the sole vectors of the causative agent of Chagas disease, a tropical neglected disease that affects millions, mostly in Central and South America. Surprisingly, given the medical importance of this group, the evolutionary origin of Triatominae from predatory assassin bug ancestors is still under debate and phylogenetic relationships among and within the five tribes of Triatominae are poorly understood. We here use a combination of ultraconserved element (UCE) and ribosomal data generated from ethanol-preserved and pinned museum specimens to generate the first data-rich and taxonomically densely sampled, well-supported phylogenetic hypothesis for this group of important human disease vectors. This study is the first to include multiple species and/or genera of four of the five currently recognized tribes and is significant in being the first phylogeny to include substantial diversity of Old World Triatominae. We examine tribal and generic concepts as well as species groups, subgroups, complexes that are widely referred to in the epidemiological literature on kissing bugs concluding that based on this dataset: 1) Triatominae are monophyletic and Opisthacidius Berg is their predatory sister taxon; 2) (Cavernicolini + Microtriatoma Prosen and Martinez [Bolboderini] + Rhodniini) is the sister lineage of (Belminus Stål [Bolboderini] + Triatomini); 3) the three large genera (Rhodnius Stål, Triatoma Laporte, and Panstrongylus Berg) are paraphyletic, as previously suggested; 4) Triatomini fall into nine well-supported clades, only two of which are identical in composition to previously recognized groups; 5) the Old World clade is nested within a clade also comprising the rubida and protracta clades, and is sister to the protracta clade; 6) body size and shape, head proportion, coloration, and several additional morphological features evolved plastically in Triatominae, suggesting that most of them are unsuitable for the diagnosis of higher taxonomic groups.


Briefly, DNA were extracted from museum and recently collected specimens of Triatominae. Genomic libraries were generated and target enrichment with Hemiptera v1 UCE baits was performed. Data were run through the PHYLUCE pipeline to extract UCE loci. We also extracted additional UCE loci from transcriptome data and ribosomal operon data available on Genbank. 

Usage notes


Provides the order of steps and name of scripts submitted for the analysis.


Zip folder of scripts submitted to an HPC cluster for analysis.


Zip folder of configuration files used in PHYLUCE for illuminprocessor, assembly, and the taxon-set. Also included the hemiptera-v1 bait set used for UCE loci identification and extraction.


Zip folder of UCE loci alignments for phylogentics tree anlyses and partition files where applicable for Astral, MrBayes, RAxML, PartitionFinder2.


Zip folder of UCE with ribosomal operons for phylogentics tree anlyses and partition files where applicable fo MrBayes, RAxML.


Consejo Nacional de Humanidades, Ciencias y Tecnologías, Award: 58548