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RNA virus discoveries in the electric ant, Wasmannia auropunctata

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Valles, S. M., Zhao, C., Rivers, A. R., Iwata, R. L., Oi, D. H., Cha, D. H., Collignon, R. M., Cox, N. A., Morton, G. J. and Calcaterra, L. A. (2023) RNA virus discoveries in the electric ant, Wasmannia auropunctata. Virus Genes, 59 (2). pp. 276-289. ISSN 1572-994X


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11262-023-01969-1


Despite being one of the most destructive invasive species of ants, only two natural enemies are known currently for Wasmannia auropunctata, commonly known as the electric ant or little fire ant. Because viruses can be effective biological control agents against many insect pests, including ants, a metagenomics/next-generation sequencing approach was used to facilitate discovery of virus sequences from the transcriptomes of W. auropunctata. Five new and complete positive sense, single-stranded RNA virus genomes, and one new negative sense, single-stranded RNA virus genome were identified, sequenced, and characterized from W. auropunctata collected in Argentina by this approach, including a dicistrovirus (Electric ant dicistrovirus), two polycipiviruses (Electric ant polycipivirus 1; Electric ant polycipivirus 2), a solinvivirus (Electric ant solinvivirus), a divergent genome with similarity to an unclassified group in the Picornavirales (Electric ant virus 1), and a rhabdovirus (Electric ant rhabdovirus). An additional virus genome was detected that is likely Solenopsis invicta virus 10 (MH727527). The virus genome sequences were absent from the transcriptomes of W. auropunctata collected in the USA (Hawaii and Florida). Additional limited field surveys corroborated the absence of these viruses in regions where the electric ant is invasive (the USA and Australia). The replicative genome strand of four of the viruses (Electric ant polycipivirus 2, Electric ant solinvivirus, Electric ant virus 1, and Solenopsis invicta virus 10 (in the electric ant) was detected in Argentinean-collected W. auropunctata indicating that the ant is a host for these viruses. These are the first virus discoveries to be made from W. auropunctata.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Biosecurity Queensland
Subjects:Science > Entomology
Science > Invasive Species > Animals > Animal control and ecology
Science > Zoology > Invertebrates > Insects
Veterinary medicine > Veterinary virology
Live Archive:23 Feb 2023 02:45
Last Modified:20 Jul 2023 06:30

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