Temporal and spatial mosaics: deep host association and shallow geographic drivers shape genetic structure in a widespread pinworm, Rauschtineria eutamii

Biol J Linn Soc Lond. 2016 Oct;119(2):397-413. doi: 10.1111/bij.12833. Epub 2016 May 26.


Climate and host demographic cycling often shape both parasite genetic diversity and host distributions, processes that transcend a history of strict host-parasite association. We explored host associations and histories based on an evaluation of mitochondrial and nuclear sequences to reveal the underlying history and genetic structure of a pinworm, Rauschtineria eutamii, infecting 10 species of western North American chipmunks (Rodentia:Tamias, subgenus Neotamias). Rauschtineria eutamii contains divergent lineages influenced by the diversity of hosts and variation across the complex topography of western North America. We recovered six reciprocally monophyletic R. eutamii mitochondrial clades, largely supported by nuclear gene trees, exhibiting divergence levels comparable to intraspecific variation reported for other nematodes. Phylogenetic relationships among pinworm clades suggest that R. eutamii colonized an ancestral lineage of western chipmunks and lineages persisted during historical isolation in diverging Neotamias species or species groups. Pinworm diversification, however, is incongruent and asynchronous relative to host diversification. Secondarily, patterns of shallow divergence were shaped by geography through events of episodic colonization reflecting an interaction of taxon pulses and ecological fitting among assemblages in recurrent sympatry. Pinworms occasionally infect geographically proximal host species; however, host switching may be unstable or ephemeral, as there is no signal of host switching in the deeper history of R. eutamii.

Keywords: Tamias; chipmunk; ecological fitting; parasite; phylogeography; taxon pulse; western North America.