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Data from: Human-facilitated metapopulation dynamics in an emerging pest species, Cimex lectularius

Cite this dataset

Fountain, Toby et al. (2014). Data from: Human-facilitated metapopulation dynamics in an emerging pest species, Cimex lectularius [Dataset]. Dryad.


The number and demographic history of colonists can have dramatic consequences for the way in which genetic diversity is distributed and maintained in a metapopulation. The bed bug (Cimex lectularius) is a re-emerging pest species whose close association with humans has led to frequent local extinction and colonisation, i.e. to metapopulation dynamics. Pest control limits the lifespan of sub-populations, causing frequent local extinctions, and human-facilitated dispersal allows the colonisation of empty patches. Founder events often result in drastic reductions in diversity and an increased influence of genetic drift. Coupled with restricted migration this can lead to rapid population differentiation. We therefore predicted strong population structuring. Here, using 21 newly characterised microsatellite markers and Approximate Bayesian Computation (ABC), we investigate simplified versions of two classical models of metapopulation dynamics, in a coalescent framework, in order to estimate the number and genetic composition of founders in the common bed bug. We found very limited diversity within infestations but high degrees of structuring across the city of London, with extreme levels of genetic differentiation between infestations (FST = 0.59). ABC results suggest a common origin of all founders of a given sub-population and that the numbers of colonists were low; implying that even a single mated female is enough to found a new infestation successfully. These patterns of colonisation are close to the predictions of the propagule pool model, where all founders originate from the same parental infestation. These results show that aspects of metapopulation dynamics can be captured in simple models and provide insights that are valuable for the future targeted control of bed bug infestations.

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