Rice yellow mottle virus (RYMV), endemic in Africa, is believed to be spread by chrysomelid beetles, although the infections in a field often cannot be explained by the prevailing number of beetles. We show that the grass rat Arvicanthis niloticus, domestic cows (Bos spp.), and donkeys (Asinus spp.) are potent and efficient transmitters of RYMV. Spread of RYMV by rats was demonstrated in cage experiments wherein individual rats transmitted the virus from healthy to infected rice plants and confirmed in a field experiment. Experiments with cows and donkeys showed that they could transmit the virus in plots with healthy and infected plants and to plots with healthy plants. A high percentage of seedlings became infected when a cow grazed in a seedbed after being fed with infected rice plants. Transmission also was observed when cows were allowed to graze on the stubble of infected fields. The disease incidence increased at least fourfold over time to approximately 36% of the plants infected in the experimental plots of two stubble fields. The results obtained in these stubble fields suggest that cattle-mediated spread will enhance the size of the virus load in the contraseason and the infection potential to infect the next crop.
- subterranean clover
- lowland rice