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Report on iridovirus IIV-31 (Iridoviridae, Iridovirus) infecting terrestrial isopods (Isopoda, Oniscidea) in Japan

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We conducted a comprehensive review of blue isopods in Japan by collecting isopod species from eight sites located on three Japanese islands (Honshu, Kyushu and Okinawajima). We also interviewed Japanese soil-fauna researchers and retrieved data from the Internet detailing isopod collections in Japan. From analysis of the complete data set, we conclude that a total of eight species from six families (i.e., Ligiidae, Alloniscidae, Philosciidae, Armadillidae, Porcellionidae and Armadillidiidae), excluding two unidentified species, have been observed at 18 Japanese sites. The distributional range of the blue isopods covered the whole of Japan (from Okinawajima Island to Hokkaido). Examination of transmission electron microscope (TEM) images revealed non-enveloped virions in the epithelial cell cytoplasm of the blue coloured Armadillidium vulgare (Latreille, 1804) from Japan. We designed primers for amplifying partial sequences from the major capsid protein (MCP) gene from invertebrate iridescent viruses (IIVs). The predicted amino acid sequences of the MCP gene from IIV isolated from the blue coloured isopods, A. vulgare, Porcellio scaber Latreille, 1804, Burmoniscus kathmandia (Schmalfuss, 1983), and Ligidium koreanum Flasarová, 1972, collected from Japan, were completely congruent with IIV-31 from the U.S.A. However, nucleotide sequence analysis showed that genetic variation exists among the IIV-31 species collected from the four collection sites in Japan and the North American IIV-31 species.

Affiliations: 1: 1Faculty of Education, Fukuoka University of Education, Munakata, Fukuoka 811-4192, Japan; 2: 2Forest Entomology Division, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute, Matsunosato 1, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8687, Japan; 3: 3Takezono, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-0032, Japan


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