Virus transmission via honey bee prey and potential impact on cocoon-building in labyrinth spiders (Agelena labyrinthica)

Daniel Schläppi*, Nor Chejanovsky, Orlando Yañez, Peter Neumann

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review


Interspecies transmission of RNA viruses is a major concern for human and animal health. However, host-range, transmission routes and especially the possible impact of these viruses on alternative hosts are often poorly understood. Here, we investigated the role of the labyrinth spider, Agelena labyrinthica, as a potential alternative host of viruses commonly known from western honey bees, Apis mellifera. Field-collected spiders were screened for Acute bee paralysis virus (ABPV), Black queen cell virus, Chronic bee paralysis virus, Deformed wing virus type A and B (DWV-B), Israeli acute paralysis virus, Lake Sinai virus and Sacbrood virus. In a laboratory experiment, labyrinth spiders were fed with ABPV and DWV-B infected honey bees or virus free control food. Our results show that natural infections of A. labyrinthica with these viruses are common in the field, as 62.5% of the samples were positive for at least one virus, supporting their wide host range. For DWV-B, the laboratory data indicate that foodborne transmission occurs and that high virus titres may reduce cocoon building, which would be the first report of clinical symptoms of DWV in Araneae. Since cocoons are tokens of fitness, virus transmission from honey bees might affect spider populations, which would constitute a concern for nature conservation.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0282353
Number of pages12
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2023

Bibliographical note

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© 2023 Schläppi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


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