The discovery of an odd virus from hematophagous arthropods 40 years ago by Stollar and Thomas described cell fusing agent virus in cells derived from mosquitoes. Then came the report of Kamiti River virus from in 1999, followed by worldwide reports of the discovery of other viruses of mosquitoes, ticks, and midges that replicate only in arthropods and not in vertebrates or in vertebrate cells. These viruses (now totaling at least 64 published) have genomes analogous to viruses in various families that include arboviruses and nonarboviruses. It is likely that some of these viruses have been insufficiently studied and may yet be shown to infect vertebrates. However, there is no doubt that the vast majority are restricted to arthropods alone and that they represent a recently recognized clade. Their biology, modes of transmission, worldwide distribution (some have been detected in wild-caught mosquitoes in both Asia and the United States, for example), molecular characteristics of their genomes, and potential for becoming vertebrate pathogens, or at least serving as virus reservoirs, are fascinating and may provide evidence useful in understanding virus evolution. Because metagenomics studies of arthropods have shown that arthropod genomes are the sources of arthropod virus genomes, further studies may also provide insights into the evolution of arthropods. More recently, others have published excellent papers that briefly review discoveries of arthropod viruses and that characterize certain genomic peculiarities, but, to now, there have been no reviews that encompass all these facets. We therefore anticipate that this review is published at a time and in a manner that is helpful for both virologists and entomologists to make more sense and understanding of this recently recognized and obviously important virus group. This review focuses specifically on arthropod viruses in hematophagous arthropods.


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