Phylogenetic analyses of bat-associated bugs (Hemiptera: Cimicidae: Cimicinae and Cacodminae) indicate two new species close to Cimex lectularius

17 Sep 2019

Background: Bats are regarded as the primary (ancestral) hosts of bugs of the family Cimicidae. The historically and economically most important species in the family is the common bedbug (Cimex lectularius), because of its worldwide occurrence and association with humans. This molecular-phylogenetic study was initiated in order to expand the knowledge on the phylogeny of cimicid bugs of bats, by investigating samples from Hungary, Romania (representing central-eastern Europe) and two further countries (South Africa and Vietnam). Results: Altogether 216 cimicid bugs were collected (73 Ci. lectularius, 133Ci. pipistrelli, nineCacodmus ignotus and one Ca. sparsilis). Members of the Cimex lectularius species group were found both in the environment of bats (only Myotis emarginatus, which is a cave/attic-dwelling species) and on three crevice-dwelling bat species (two pipistrelloid bats and M. bechsteinii). On the other hand, Ci. pipistrelli always occurred off-host (near M. myotis/blythii, which are cave/atticdwelling species). In addition, two Cacodmus spp. were collected from Pipistrellus hesperidus. The morphological characters of these specimens are illustrated with high resolution pictures. Analysis of cytochrome c oxidase subunit 1 (cox1) sequences generated from 38 samples indicated relative genetic homogeneity of Ci. pipistrelli, while the Ci. lectularius group had two haplotypes (collected from pipistrelloid bats in Hungary and Vietnam) highly divergent from other members of this species group. These results were confirmed with molecular and phylogenetic analyses based on the internal transcribed spacer 2 (ITS2). Bat-associated bugs morphologically identified as Ca. ignotus and Ca. sparsilis were different in their cox1, but identical in their ITS2 sequences. Conclusions: Molecular evidence is provided here on the existence of two new genotypes, most likely new species, within the Ci. lectularius species group. The relevant specimens (unlike the others) were collected from pipistrelloid bats, therefore the association of Ci. lectularius with different bat host species (pipistrelloid vs myotine bats) should be evaluated further as a possible background factor of this genetic divergence. In addition, Ca. ignotus is reported for the first time in South Africa.