A taxonomic review of viruses infecting crustaceans with an emphasis on wild hosts.

Numerous infections by viral pathogens have been described from wild and cultured crustacean hosts, yet relatively few of these pathogens have been formally characterized and classified. To date viruses have generally been tentatively assigned to families based upon morphological and developmental characteristics and their location of infection within the host cell. Often nucleotide sequence information is unavailable. Some of these viral infections have caused well-documented devastating consequences on the global crustacean farming industry whilst their effects on wild populations remain largely unstudied. This paper provides an up to date review of all known viruses described infecting crustacean hosts. Full characterisation and harmonisation of these descriptions utilising specifications proposed by the International Committee on Taxonomy of Viruses (ICTV) is required to synonymise numerous examples of differential naming or abbreviation of naming, of the same virus in some cases. Development and application of techniques such as viral purification and high throughput sequencing of viral genomes will assist with these full descriptions and, provide appropriate diagnostic targets for surveillance of known and novel relatives. This review also highlights the importance of comparative study with viruses infecting insects and other arthropods to assist this process.

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