Migration and gene flow among domestic populations of the chagas insect vector Triatoma dimidiata (hemiptera: Reduviidae) detected by microsatellite loci

Lori Stevens, M. Carlota Monroy, Antonieta Guadalupe Rodas, Robin M. Hicks, David E. Lucero, Leslie A Lyons, Patricia L. Dorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Triatoma dimidiata (Latreille, 1811) is the most abundant and significant insect vector of the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi in Central America, and particularly in Guatemala. Tr. cruzi is the causative agent of Chagas disease, and successful disease control requires understanding the geographic distribution and degree of migration of vectors such as T. dimidiata that frequently re-infest houses within months following insecticide application. The population genetic structure of T. dimidiata collected from six villages in southern Guatemala was studied to gain insight into the migration patterns of the insects in this region where populations are largely domestic. This study provided insight into the likelihood of eliminating T. dimidiata by pesticide application as has been observed in some areas for other domestic triatomines such as Triatoma infestans. Genotypes of microsatellite loci for 178 insects from six villages were found to represent five genetic clusters using a Bayesian Markov Chain Monte Carlo method. Individual clusters were found in multiple villages, with multiple clusters in the same house. Although migration occurred, there was statistically significant genetic differentiation among villages (FRT = 0.05) and high genetic differentiation among houses within villages (FSR = 0.11). Relatedness of insects within houses varied from 0 to 0.25, i.e., from unrelated to half-sibs. The results suggest that T. dimidiata in southern Guatemala moves between houses and villages often enough that recolonization is likely, implying the use of insecticides alone is not sufficient for effective control of Chagas disease in this region and more sustainable solutions are required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-428
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Medical Entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Chagas disease
  • Dispersal
  • Genetic diversity
  • Triatoma dimidiata
  • Vector control

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • veterinary(all)
  • Insect Science
  • Infectious Diseases


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