Meta-transcriptomic analysis of the virome and microbiome of the invasive indian myna (Acridotheres tristis) in Australia.
Invasive species exert a serious impact on native fauna and flora and have become the target of eradication and management efforts worldwide. Invasive avian species can also be important pathogen reservoirs, although their viromes and microbiomes have rarely been studied. As one of the top 100 invasive pest species globally, the expansion of Indian mynas (Acridotheres tristis) into peri-urban and rural environments, in conjunction with increasing free-ranging avian agricultural practices, may increase the risk of microbial pathogens jumping species boundaries. Herein, we used a meta-transcriptomic approach to explore the microbes present in brain, liver and large intestine of 16 invasive Indian myna birds in Sydney, Australia. From this, we discovered seven novel viruses from the families Adenoviridae, Caliciviridae, Flaviviridae, Parvoviridae and Picornaviridae. Interestingly, each of the novel viruses identified shared less than 80% genomic similarity with their closest relatives from other avian species, indicative of a lack of detectable virus transmission between invasive mynas to native or domestic species. Of note, we also identified two coccidian protozoa, Isospora superbusi and Isospora greineri, from the liver and gut tissues of mynas. Overall, these data demonstrate that invasive mynas can harbor a diversity of viruses and other microorganisms such that ongoing pathogen surveillance in this species is warranted.