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Identification of a Novel Picorna-like Virus in Coconut Rhinoceros Beetles (Oryctes rhinoceros)

A novel Picorna-like virus, tentatively named Oryctes rhinoceros Picorna-like virus 1 (OrPV1), was identified in coconut rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros) larvae in Taiwan. The genome shares approximately 27-28% identity with other unclassified Picornavirales that infect honey bees (Darwin bee virus 2, Bundaberg bee virus 5, and Sacbrood virus) and a recently reported virus from Asian lady beetle (Harmonia axyridis virus 1). We did not detect this virus in any other geographical populations of O. rhinoceros collected from the South Pacific Islands and the Philippines.  

Currently, our knowledge of O. rhinoceros viruses and their interactions with the hosts is very limited. Fortunately, the advent of NGS technology has created a great opportunity for novel virus discovery and the study of host-pathogen interactions. Novel virus discovery will facilitate further studies on interactions between different haplotypes of O. rhinoceros and their associated viruses and determine if such interactions might explain the lack of virulence of Oryctes rhinoceros nudivirus (OrNV) to the O. rhinoceros haplotype CRB-G. Future studies are essential to determine the potential of O. rhinoceros RNA viruses to be used as biological control agents.


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