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Open AccessArticle

Indigenous versus Lessepsian Hosts: Nervous Necrosis Virus (NNV) in Eastern Mediterranean Sea Fish

1
Department of Marine Biology, Leon H. Charney School of Marine Sciences, University of Haifa, Haifa 3498838, Israel
2
Morris Kahn Marine Research Station, University of Haifa, Haifa 3498838, Israel
3
Israeli Veterinary Services, Bet Dagan 5025001, Israel
4
National Institute of Oceanography, Israel Oceanographic and Limnological Research, Haifa 3108001, Israel
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2020, 12(4), 430; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12040430
Received: 19 March 2020 / Revised: 5 April 2020 / Accepted: 8 April 2020 / Published: 10 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Viruses of Aquatic Ecosystems)
Viruses are among the most abundant and diverse biological components in the marine environment. In finfish, viruses are key drivers of host diversity and population dynamics, and therefore, their effect on the marine environment is far-reaching. Viral encephalopathy and retinopathy (VER) is a disease caused by the marine nervous necrosis virus (NNV), which is recognized as one of the main infectious threats for marine aquaculture worldwide. For over 140 years, the Suez Canal has acted as a conduit for the invasion of Red Sea marine species into the Mediterranean Sea. In 2016–2017, we evaluated the prevalence of NNV in two indigenous Mediterranean species, the round sardinella (Sardinella aurita) and the white steenbras (Lithognathus mormyrus) versus two Lessepsian species, the Randall’s threadfin bream (Nemipterus randalli) and the Lessepsian lizardfish (Saurida lessepsianus). A molecular method was used to detect NNV in all four fish species tested. In N. randalli, a relatively newly established invasive species in the Mediterranean Sea, the prevalence was significantly higher than in both indigenous species. In S. lessepsianus, prevalence varied considerably between years. While the factors that influence the effective establishment of invasive species are poorly understood, we suggest that the susceptibility of a given invasive fish species to locally acquired viral pathogens such as NVV may be important, in terms of both its successful establishment in its newly adopted environment and its role as a reservoir ‘host’ in the new area. View Full-Text
Keywords: viral diseases; fish; nervous necrosis virus (NNV); Lessepsian species; indigenous species; Mediterranean Sea viral diseases; fish; nervous necrosis virus (NNV); Lessepsian species; indigenous species; Mediterranean Sea
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Lampert, Y.; Berzak, R.; Davidovich, N.; Diamant, A.; Stern, N.; Scheinin, A.P.; Tchernov, D.; Morick, D. Indigenous versus Lessepsian Hosts: Nervous Necrosis Virus (NNV) in Eastern Mediterranean Sea Fish. Viruses 2020, 12, 430.

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