Ecological and Conservation Significance of Herpesvirus Infection in Neotropical Bats
Marrero, Lucía Moreira
Nuñez, Germán Botto
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Bats are the second most diverse order of mammals and key species for ecosystem functioning, providing a wide range of ecosystem services, from pest control to seed dispersal. Chiropterans are known for hosting a large diversity of viruses, in some cases with little or no effect to their health. Here, we report on the results of a screening for DNA (Herpesviridae) and RNA viruses (Rhabdovirus and Pneumovirus), finding a high prevalence and wide diversity of both Beta- and Gamma-Herpesvirus in insectivorous and hematophagous bats of the southern cone of South America. Our findings suggest that bats in the southern neotropics harbor a high diversity of herpesviruses and, at least in some cases, the viral community in the bat species is more strongly associated with ecological traits of the hosts, rather than their taxonomy. The presence of a separate clade into the Gammaherpesvirinae subfamily in the common vampire bat suggests the independent circulation of herpesviruses in hematophagous and insectivorous bats and highlights the properness of these viruses to track vampire bats’ population structure for rabies studies. Hence, we suggest that as other pathogens viruses may be used to track the population dynamics of their hosts, including movement and demographics.
Moreira Marrero, L., Botto Nuñez, G., Malta, L., Delfraro, A., & Frabasile, S. (2021). Ecological and Conservation Significance of Herpesvirus Infection in Neotropical Bats. Ecohealth, 18(1), 123-133.