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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Fort Pierce, Florida » U.S. Horticultural Research Laboratory » Subtropical Insects and Horticulture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #168683


item Hunter, Wayne
item Lapointe, Stephen

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/13/2003
Publication Date: 12/15/2003
Citation: Hunter, W.B., Lapointe, S.L. 2003. Iridovirus in diaprepes root weevils cell culture (coleoptera: curculionidae: diaprepes abbreviatus. Journal of Insect Science.

Interpretive Summary: Natural pathogens of insects, like viruses, are currently being investigated for their use in controlling insect populations. A virus was discovered to be infecting Diaprepes rootweevil and was screened for its effect on weevil cells in culture. The virus was shown to replicate within the weevils. The virus, classified as an Iridovirus, is a DNA virus and was shown to be passed between infected individuals. Infected individuals had a shortened life-span, and adults showed a reduced ability to produce offspring. Discovering insect virus diseases which decrease insect populations, provides new methods which may play an important role in controlling these serious pests of citrus and other important crops in the future.

Technical Abstract: This is the first report of a pathogenic iridovirus in Diaprepes root weevil, DRW, Diaprepes abbreviatus L., and evidence of its subsequent aerosol transmission between individuals, and transovarial transmission to eggs. DRW are economically important pests of citrus which have few biological control agents which are available for use in their management. This reports on an Iridovirus, which is a dsDNA virus, being pathogenic upon infection of DRW. Modes of transmission for iridovirus in other insect systems have been shown to be through oral ingestion and as an aerosol during close contact. We demonstrated virus transmission between adults through oral ingestion via sucrose feeding experiments, and show the first evidence which suggests vertical, transovarial transmission of an iridovirus, as confirmed by PCR analysis of virus infected eggs. Entomopathogenic viruses may have potential as biological control agents or tools to examine gene expression in insects.