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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: BIOLOGY, GENOMICS, AND INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT OF INVASIVE ANTS

Location: Imported Fire Ant and Household Insects

Title: Host specificity and colony impacts of Solenopsis invicta virus 3

Authors
item Porter, Sanford
item Valles, Steven
item Oi, David

Submitted to: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: April 29, 2013
Publication Date: N/A

Interpretive Summary: A thorough understanding of host specificity is essential before pathogens can be used as biopesticides or self-sustaining biocontrol agents. In order to define the host range of the recently discovered Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3), scientists at the USDA-ARS research center in Gainesville, FL exposed colonies of 19 species of ants in 14 different genera and 4 subfamilies to this virus. Despite extreme exposure to the virus, active, replicating infections only resulted in imported fire ants. Furthermore, the lack of infections in the native tropical fire ant indicates that SINV-3 is likely restricted to fire ant species from South America fire ants. Test imported fire ant colonies (S. invicta) infected with SINV-3 declined dramatically in health with average brood reductions of 85% or more during the course of this study while uninfected colonies remained healthy. Thus, the combination of high virulence and high host specificity indicates that the SINV-3 virus has good potential for use as either a biopesticide or a self-sustaining biocontrol agent.

Technical Abstract: A thorough understanding of host specificity is essential before pathogens can be used as biopesticides or self-sustaining biocontrol agents. In order to define the host range of the recently discovered Solenopsis invicta virus 3 (SINV-3), we exposed colonies of 19 species of ants in 14 different genera and 4 subfamilies to this virus. Despite extreme exposure to the virus, active, replicating infections only resulted in Solenopsis invicta and hybrid (S. invicta x S. richteri) fire ants. Furthermore, the lack of infections in Solenopsis geminata fire ants indicates that SINV-3 is likely restricted to the saevissima complex fire ants. Test S. invicta colonies infected with SINV-3 declined dramatically in health with average brood reductions of 85% or more during the course of this study while uninfected colonies remained healthy. Thus, the combination of high virulence and high host specificity indicates that SINV-3 has good potential for use as either a biopesticide or a self-sustaining biocontrol agent.

Last Modified: 10/30/2014