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Natural populations of Spodoptera exigua are infected by multiple viruses that are transmitted to their offspring
- Virto, Cristina, Navarro, David, Tellez, M. Mar, Herrero, Salvador, Williams, Trevor, Murillo, Rosa, Caballero, Primitivo
- Journal of invertebrate pathology 2014 v.122 pp. 22-27
- Baculoviridae, Iflaviridae, Spodoptera exigua, adults, females, greenhouses, hosts, imagos, insecticides, insects, mixed infection, progeny, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, rearing, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, virus transmission, viruses, Spain
- Sublethal infections by baculoviruses (Baculoviridae) are believed to be common in Lepidoptera, including Spodoptera exigua. In addition, novel RNA viruses of the family Iflaviridae have been recently identified in a laboratory population of S. exigua (S. exigua iflavirus-1: SeIV-1; S. exigua iflavirus-2: SeIV-2) that showed no overt signs of disease. We determined the prevalence of these viruses in wild populations and the prevalence of co-infection by the different viruses in shared hosts. Infection by S. exigua multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (SeMNPV) and iflaviruses in S. exigua adults (N=130) from horticultural greenhouses in southern Spain was determined using qPCR and RT-PCR based techniques respectively. The offspring of these insects (N=200) was reared under laboratory conditions and analyzed to determine virus transmission. Overall, 54% of field-caught adults were infected by SeMNPV, 13.1% were infected by SeIV-1 and 7.7% were infected by SeIV-2. Multiple infections were also detected, with 8.4% of individuals harboring SeMNPV and one of the iflaviruses, whereas 2.3% of adults were infected by all three viruses. All the viruses were transmitted to offspring independently of whether the parental female harbored covert infections or not. Analysis of laboratory-reared insects in the adult stage revealed that SeIV-1 was significantly more prevalent than SeMNPV or SeIV-2, suggesting high transmissibility of SeIV-1. Mixed infection involving three viruses was identified in 6.5% of laboratory-reared offspring. We conclude that interspecific interactions between these viruses in co-infected individuals are to be likely frequent, both in the field, following applications of SeMNPV-based insecticides, or in laboratory colonies used for SeMNPV mass production.