WHY DO WE SOMETIMES SEE “RANDOM” VIRAL OUTBREAKS? (Animal Ecology in Focus)
Armyworms are important caterpillar crop pests in Africa and, in the early 1990s, Ken was a young postdoc based in Kenya studying the migration of adult armyworm moths*. As part of this, he would visit lots of high-density armyworm ‘outbreaks’. What struck him most during these visits was that at some outbreaks all of the caterpillars appeared healthy and vigorous, whereas at others there were high levels of viral disease, and it was puzzling what was causing these apparently random epidemics of virus. A mere 30 years later, we think we have the answer, which we report in our latest paper “Trans-generational viral transmission and immune priming are dose-dependent”.
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