Ticks associated with Macquarie Island penguins carry arboviruses from four genera
Major, L, Linn, ML, Slade, RW, Schroder, WA, Hyatt, AD, Gardner, J, Cowley, J & Suhrbier, A 2009, 'Ticks associated with Macquarie Island penguins carry arboviruses from four genera, PLOS One, vol. 4, no, 2, e4375.
Macquarie Island, a small subantarctic island, is home to rockhopper, royal and king penguins, which are often infested with the globally distributed seabird tick, Ixodes uriae. A flavivirus, an orbivirus, a phlebovirus, and a nairovirus were isolated from these ticks and partial sequences obtained. The flavivirus was nearly identical to Gadgets Gully virus, isolated some 30 year previously, illustrating the remarkable genetic stability of this virus. The nearest relative to the orbivirus (for which we propose the name Sandy Bay virus) was the Scottish Broadhaven virus, and provided only the second available sequences from the Great Island orbivirus serogroup. The phlebovirus (for which we propose the name Catch-me-cave virus) and the previously isolated Precarious Point virus were distinct but related, with both showing homology with the Finnish Uukuniemi virus. These penguin viruses provided the second and third available sequences for the Uukuniemi group of phleboviruses. The nairovirus (for which we propose the name Finch Creek virus) was shown to be related to the North American Tillamook virus, the Asian Hazara virus and Nairobi sheep disease virus. Macquarie Island penguins thus harbour arboviruses from at least four of the seven arbovirus-containing genera, with related viruses often found in the northern hemisphere.