From one host to another: tracking vector movements using microsatellite markers



In principle, the solution to stopping the spread of any vectorborne pathogen is a simple one – just stop infected vectors from biting new hosts and the pathogen cannot spread. Importantly, this does not necessarily require killing all vectors, or protecting all hosts. Transmission only occurs when an infected vector moves to a new host, and so knowing how vectors move between hosts in nature and how they choose hosts is crucial to understanding transmission. For example, the infection status of a potential vector or that of a potential host would have a huge influence on pathogen transmission if it affected vector movement or host choice. Remarkably little is known about how vectors move between and choose hosts in nature, in part because of the logistical difficulties of tracking vector movement. This is why the article by Levin and Parker (2014) in this issue of Molecular Ecology is so exciting.