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Data from: Microbial communities of the house fly Musca domestica vary with geographical location and habitat

Cite this dataset

Park, Rahel et al. (2019). Data from: Microbial communities of the house fly Musca domestica vary with geographical location and habitat [Dataset]. Dryad.


House flies (Musca domestica) are widespread, synanthropic filth flies commonly found on decaying matter, garbage, and feces as well as human food. They have been shown to vector microbes, including clinically relevant pathogens. Previous studies have demonstrated that house flies carry a complex and variable prokaryotic microbiota, but the main drivers underlying this variability and the influence of habitat on the microbiota remain understudied. Moreover, the differences between the external and internal microbiota and the eukaryotic components have not been examined. To obtain a comprehensive view of the fly microbiota and its environmental drivers, we sampled over 400 flies from two geographically distinct countries (Belgium and Rwanda) and three different environments – farms, homes and hospitals. Both the internal as well as external microbiota of the house flies were studied, using amplicon sequencing targeting both bacteria and fungi. Results show that the house fly’s internal bacterial community is very diverse yet relatively consistent across geographic location and habitat, dominated by genera Staphylococcus and Weissella. The external bacterial community, however, varies with geographic location and habitat. The fly fungal microbiota carries a distinct signature correlating with the country of sampling, with order Capnodiales and genus Wallemia dominating Belgian flies and genus Cladosporium dominating Rwandan fly samples. Together, our results reveal an intricate country specific pattern for fungal communities, a relatively stable internal bacterial microbiota and a variable external bacterial microbiota that depends on geographical location and habitat. These findings suggest that vectoring of a wide spectrum of environmental microbes occurs principally through the external fly body surface, while the internal microbiome is likely more limited by fly physiology.

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