Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Viral biocontrol of invasive vertebrates: lessons from the past applied to cyprinid herpesvirus-3 and carp (Cyprinus carpio) control in Australia.

Abstract

This paper reviews successful and, briefly, unsuccessful viral biocontrol programs for invasive vertebrate pests to provide lessons for future programs, especially the potential use of cyprinid herpesvirus-3 to control carp in Australia. There have only been three major programs where viral pathogens have been used successfully against invasive vertebrate pests. Myxoma and rabbit hemorrhagic disease viruses were used to control rabbits in Australia, and feline panleukopenia virus helped eliminate cats from sub-Antarctic Marion Island. These programs have shown us that successful viral biocontrol programs for invasive species must include: a thorough understanding of the biology of the target species, and of the viral epidemiology; an integrated pest management program involving both the virus and other control methods; and, a post-release assessment of the ecological benefits of the program. The most important practical lessons identified in this review are: the greatest impact of viruses as biocontrol agents is in the first years following release; unsuspected cross-reactive viruses may confer protection on the target species; and, there may be age- or temperature-related resistance to the virus in the target species.