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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Virus Prospecting in Crickets-Discovery and Strain Divergence of a Novel Iflavirus in Wild and Cultivated Acheta domesticus

de Miranda, Joachim R.; Granberg, Fredrik; Onorati, Piero; Jansson, Anna; Berggren, Asa


Orthopteran insects have high reproductive rates leading to boom-bust population dynamics with high local densities that are ideal for short, episodic disease epidemics. Viruses are particularly well suited for such host population dynamics, due to their supreme ability to adapt to changing transmission criteria. However, very little is known about the viruses of Orthopteran insects. Since Orthopterans are increasingly reared commercially, for animal feed and human consumption, there is a risk that viruses naturally associated with these insects can adapt to commercial rearing conditions, and cause disease. We therefore explored the virome of the house cricket Acheta domesticus, which is both part of the natural Swedish landscape and reared commercially for the pet feed market. Only 1% of the faecal RNA and DNA from wild-caught A. domesticus consisted of viruses. These included both known and novel viruses associated with crickets/insects, their bacterial-fungal microbiome, or their plant food. Relatively abundant among these viral Operational Taxonomic Units (OTUs) was a novel Iflavirus, tentatively named Acheta domesticus Iflavirus (AdIV). Quantitative analyses showed that AdIV was also abundant in frass and insect samples from commercially reared crickets. Interestingly, the wild and commercial AdIV strains had short, extremely divergent variation hotspots throughout the genome, which may indicate specific adaptation to their hosts' distinct rearing environments.


metagenome; virome; Acheta domesticus; cricket; Acheta domesticus Iflavirus; strain evolution; cricket rearing

Published in

2021, Volume: 13, number: 3, article number: 364
Publisher: MDPI