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A new haplotype of the coconut rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes rhinoceros, has escaped biological control by Oryctes rhinoceros nudivirus and is invading Pacific Islands



A new haplotype of the coconut rhinoceros beetle, Oryctes rhinoceros, has escaped biological control by Oryctes rhinoceros nudivirus and is invading Pacific Islands



Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 149: 127-134



The coconut rhinoceros beetle (CRB; Oryctes rhinoceros) is a major pest of coconut and oil palm, but the discovery and release of Oryctes rhinoceros nudivirus (OrNV) in the 1960s and 70s suppressed the pest such that no new invasions of uninfested islands by CRB were reported for over 30years after implementation of the biocontrol programme. Surprisingly, a highly damaging outbreak was reported from Guam (2007), which could not be controlled by OrNV. Subsequently, new invasions have been reported from Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (2009); O'ahu, Hawai'i (2013); and Honiara, Solomon Islands (2015). We have found that all of these outbreaks have been caused by a previously unrecognized haplotype, CRB-G, which appears to be tolerant to OrNV. PCR analysis shows that OrNV is generally present at high incidence in established populations of CRB, but is generally absent from the invasive CRB-G populations. CRB-G from Guam was not susceptible to OrNV infection by oral delivery, but injection of the virus did cause mortality. Further genetic analysis shows that CRB populations can be divided into a number of clades that coincide with the endemic and invasive history of the beetle. Analysis suggests that CRB-G originated in Asia, though the precise location remains to be discovered.

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Accession: 059362596

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PMID: 28743668

DOI: 10.1016/j.jip.2017.07.006


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