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Keywords:

  • dispersal;
  • mark–release–recapture experiment;
  • population genetics;
  • population size;
  • tsetse

Abstract

The West African trypanosomoses are mostly transmitted by riverine species of tsetse fly. In this study, we estimate the dispersal and population size of tsetse populations located along the Mouhoun river in Burkina Faso where tsetse habitats are experiencing increasing fragmentation caused by human encroachment. Dispersal estimated through direct (mark and recapture) and indirect (genetic isolation by distance) methods appeared consistent with one another. In these fragmented landscapes, tsetse flies displayed localized, small subpopulations with relatively short effective dispersal. We discuss how such information is crucial for designing optimal strategies for eliminating this threat. To estimate ecological parameters of wild animal populations, the genetic measures are both a cost- and time-effective alternative to mark–release–recapture. They can be applied to other vector-borne diseases of medical and/or economic importance.