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J Invertebr Pathol. 2006 Feb;91(2):79-87. Epub 2006 Jan 18.

Detection and characterisation of three novel species of reovirus (Reoviridae), isolated from geographically separate populations of the winter moth Operophtera brumata (Lepidoptera: Geometridae) on Orkney.

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NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, Mansfield Road, Oxford OX1 3SR, UK.


Geographically separate populations of winter moth (Operophtera brumata L.) were sampled in heather habitats on the Orkney Isles in order to investigate the prevalence of virus pathogens. Reoviruses were isolated in 11 of the 13 winter moth populations sampled, with 3 novel species being detected. Two species of Cypoviridae (CPV) were isolated, Operophtera brumata CPV18 and O. brumata CPV19, with one host population suffering 46% infection prevalence of OpbuCPV19. A third virus, O. brumata Reovirus (OpbuRV), was isolated from both winter moth and a hymenopteran parasitoid wasp, Phobocampe tempestiva, which is abundant in these populations. This was identified as a non-occluded reovirus, which was clearly able to infect and persist in both the lepidopteran and the hymenopteran host. The genomes of the three viruses were characterised using gel electrophoresis and the virus structure was investigated using transmission electron microscopy. The relationship of these viruses with a baculovirus that also infects winter moth, OpbuNPV, was investigated, as well as the association of OpbuRV with P. tempestiva. The detection of such viruses is discussed with reference to studies of similar viruses in other lepidopteran and hymenopteran host systems.

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