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Table 1 Key differences in social system of the two host species

From: The effect of host social system on parasite population genetic structure: comparative population genetics of two ectoparasitic mites and their bat hosts


Greater mouse-eared bat

Bechstein’s bat

Predicted effect on parasite population genetic structure



Myotis myotis

Myotis bechsteinii


Social organization


Colony size

Large (50–2000)

Small (10–50)

Larger colonies lead to less genetic drift


Female natal philopatry

High; but occasional exchange of individuals between colonies

Very high; almost no exchange of individuals between colonies

Lower philopatry leads to more parasite transmission

[31, 53]

Roost fidelity

High; one site (building/cave) throughout summer

Very low; frequent roost switching (tree cavities) and fission-fusion dynamics

Fission-fusion dynamics may increase genetic drift because colonies split into subgroups

[17, 54]


Free-hanging; solitary or clustered

In crevices (mostly solitary)

Solitary roosting reduces parasite transmission


Mating system

Temporary harems (extensive contact) and/or swarming (little contact)

Swarming (little contact)

Temporary harems increase parasite transmission

[14, 16]

  1. Overview of the key differences in social system between the greater mouse-eared bat (Myotis myotis) and Bechstein’s bat (Myotis bechsteinii), and the expected effects thereof on the population genetic structure of their parasites.