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Diseases of Aquatic Organisms

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DAO 130:221-233 (2018)  -  DOI:

Role of the intertidal predatory shore crab Carcinus maenas in transmission dynamics of ostreid herpesvirus-1 microvariant

B. E. Bookelaar*, A. J. O’Reilly, S. A. Lynch, S. C. Culloty

Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Centre, School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences & Environmental Research Institute, University College Cork, Cork, Ireland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Ostreid herpesvirus-1 microVar (OsHV-1 µVar) has been responsible for significant mortalities globally in the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas. While the impact of this virus on the Pacific oyster has been significant, this pathogen may have wider ecosystem consequences. It has not been definitively determined how the virus is sustaining itself in the marine environment and whether other species are susceptible. The shore crab Carcinus maenas is a mobile predator and scavenger of C. gigas, commonly found at Pacific oyster culture sites. The aim of this study was to investigate the role of the crab in viral maintenance and transmission to the Pacific oyster. A field trial took place over 1 summer at different shore heights at 2 Irish Pacific oyster culture sites that are endemic for OsHV-1 µVar. Infection of OsHV-1 µVar in tissues of C. maenas at both shore heights of both sites was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), quantitative PCR (qPCR), in situ hybridization and direct Sanger sequencing. In addition, a laboratory trial demonstrated that transmission of the virus could occur to naïve C. gigas within 4 d, from C. maenas previously exposed to the virus in the wild. These findings provide some insight into the possibility that the virus can be transmitted through marine food webs. The results also suggest viral plasticity in the hosts required by the virus and potential impacts on a range of crustacean species with wider ecosystem impacts if transmission to other species occurs.

KEY WORDS: Crassostrea gigas · Carcinus maenas · Ostreid herpesvirus-1 microvar · Pathogen-host-environment interplay · Predator-prey · Scavenger

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Cite this article as: Bookelaar BE, O’Reilly AJ, Lynch SA, Culloty SC (2018) Role of the intertidal predatory shore crab Carcinus maenas in transmission dynamics of ostreid herpesvirus-1 microvariant. Dis Aquat Org 130:221-233.

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