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Detection and Replication of Moku Virus in Honey Bees and Social Wasps

1
The Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom, Citadel Hill, Plymouth PL1 2PB, UK
2
School of Environmental and Life Sciences, The University of Salford, Manchester M5 4WT, UK
3
Veterinary Population Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Minnesota, St Paul, MN 55108, USA
4
Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9, Canada
5
INRAE UR633 Zoologie Forestière, 45075 Orléans, France
6
Wildlife Matters Consultancy Unit, Battle, East Sussex TN33 9BN, UK
7
Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E 6BT, UK
8
School of Biological Sciences, University of Reading, Reading RG6 6LA, UK
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2020, 12(6), 607; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12060607
Received: 6 May 2020 / Revised: 26 May 2020 / Accepted: 26 May 2020 / Published: 2 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Honey Bee Virus Research)
Transmission of honey bee viruses to other insects, and vice versa, has previously been reported and the true ecological importance of this phenomenon is still being realized. Members of the family Vespidae interact with honey bees via predation or through the robbing of brood or honey from colonies, and these activities could result in virus transfer. In this study we screened Vespa velutina and Vespa crabro collected from Europe and China and also honey bees and Vespula vulgaris from the UK for Moku virus (MV), an Iflavirus first discovered in the predatory social wasp Vespula pensylvanica in Hawaii. MV was found in 71% of Vespula vulgaris screened and was also detected in UK Vespa crabro. Only seven percent of Vespa velutina individuals screened were MV-positive and these were exclusively samples from Jersey. Of 69 honey bee colonies screened, 43% tested positive for MV. MV replication was confirmed in Apis mellifera and Vespidae species, being most frequently detected in Vespula vulgaris. MV sequences from the UK were most similar to MV from Vespula pensylvanica compared to MV from Vespa velutina in Belgium. The implications of the transfer of viruses between the Vespidae and honey bees are discussed. View Full-Text
Keywords: honey bee; hornet; wasp; Moku virus honey bee; hornet; wasp; Moku virus
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MDPI and ACS Style

Highfield, A.; Kevill, J.; Mordecai, G.; Hunt, J.; Henderson, S.; Sauvard, D.; Feltwell, J.; Martin, S.J.; Sumner, S.; Schroeder, D.C. Detection and Replication of Moku Virus in Honey Bees and Social Wasps. Viruses 2020, 12, 607.

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