Ecology and Evolution
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Despite strong interest in understanding how habitat spatial structure shapes the genetics of populations, the relative importance of habitat amount and configuration for patterns of genetic differentiation remains largely unexplored in empirical systems. In this study, we evaluate the relative influence of, and interactions among, the amount of habitat and aspects of its spatial configuration on genetic differentiation in the pitcher plant midge, Metriocnemus knabi. Larvae of this species are found exclusively within the water-filled leaves of pitcher plants (Sarracenia purpurea) in a system that is naturally patchy at multiple spatial scales (i.e., leaf, plant, cluster, peatland). Using generalized linear mixed models and multimodel inference, we estimated effects of the amount of habitat, patch size, interpatch distance, and patch isolation, measured at different spatial scales, on genetic differentiation (F ST) among larval samples from leaves within plants, plants within clusters, and clusters within peatlands. Among leaves and plants, genetic differentiation appears to be driven by female oviposition behaviors and is influenced by habitat isolation at a broad (peatland) scale. Among clusters, gene flow is spatially restricted and aspects of both the amount of habitat and configuration at the focal scale are important, as is their interaction. Our results suggest that both habitat amount and configuration can be important determinants of genetic structure and that their relative influence is scale dependent.