Submitted to: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/16/2013
Publication Date: 4/24/2013
Citation: Valles, S.M., Oi, D.H., Plowes, R.M., Sanchez-Arroyo, H., Varone, L., Conant, P., Webb, G. 2013. Geographic distribution suggests that Solenopsis invicta is the host of predilection for Solenopsis invicta virus 1. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 113:232-236. Interpretive Summary: The red imported fire ant was introduced into the United States in the 1930s and currently infests about 300 million acres. It causes significant economic losses in livestock and agricultural production and poses a serious threat to human health. USDA-ARS scientists at the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology (Gainesville, FL) in cooperation with scientists at the Fundacion Para el Estudio de Especies Invasivas (Argentina), University of Texas, Hawaii Department of Agriculture, Colegio de Postgraduados (Mexico), and Sumitomo Chemical (Australia) have determined that the preferred host of Solenopsis invicta virus 1 is Solenopsis invicta. Host specificity tests are crucial requirements for the potential development of the virus for use in fire ant control programs.
Technical Abstract: Solenopsis invicta virus 1 (SINV-1) was found regularly and prevalently in S. invicta. In sampled locations where S. invicta and S. geminata are sympatric (specifically, Gainesville, FL and Travis, TX), SINV-1 was detected in S. geminata. Conversely, in areas in which S. geminata and S. invicta are allopatric, SINV-1 was not detected in S. geminata; these locations included Australia (n = 12), southern Mexico (n = 107), Hawaii (n = 48), Taiwan (n = 12), and the Johnston Atoll (n = 6). A similar relationship was observed for S. richteri. In areas in which S. invicta and S. richteri are sympatric, SINV-1 was detected in the S. richteri population, but in areas in which S. invicta and S. richteri are allopatric, SINV-1 was not detected. These occurrences suggest that S. invicta is the host of predilection, or preferred host for SINV-1, and that the congenerics, S. geminata and S. richteri serve as either accidental, reservoir, or transfer hosts. The minus genome strand of SINV-1 was detected in S. geminata and S. richteri indicating that these species may serve as functional hosts capable of supporting SINV-1 replication. SINV-1 was not detected in S. xyloni regardless of its proximity to S. invicta.