Submitted to: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/4/2003
Publication Date: 10/10/2003
Citation: Hay-Roe, M.M., Shapiro, A.M., Becnel, J.J., Boucias, D.G. 2003. A newly discovered baculovirus induces reflex bleeding in the butterfly heliconius himera (nymphalidae: heliconiinea). Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 84:59-62. Interpretive Summary: Baculoviruses are a group of viruses that infects only arthropods (insects, spiders, crustaceans). Baculoviruses have great potential to be used as biological insecticides but they also can cause economic harm (shrimp farming, silk industry, butterfly farming). Knowledge of basic baculovirology is important for proper management in mass rearing situations and for insect control. Scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology in Gainesville, Florida, in cooperation with scientists at the University of Florida, describe a new baculovirus HhMNPV from Heliconius himera that has a novel transmission mechanism. New information obtained here contributes to our basic understanding of baculoviruses biology and might have important implications in developing methods that could easily and economically inhibit or promote transmission of baculoviruses.
Technical Abstract: Heliconius himera is a neotropical butterfly distributed on the eastern side of the Andes in Ecuador. H. himera (Nymphalidae: Heliconiinae) and other members of the subfamily Heliconiinae constitute some of the most frequently purchased organisms for butterfly exhibitions and farming, because of their striking coloration. A novel baculovirus (HhMNPV) has been isolated from H. himera and it was implicated in larval population decrease under artificial rearing conditions. Reflex bleeding, resulting in the release of infectious occlusion bodies, allows horizontal transmission of HhMNPV. Knowledge of the natural history of insect pathogens like baculoviruses is important in the development of methods for insect rearing or control.