Most described flaviviruses (family Flaviviridae) are disease-causing pathogens of vertebrates maintained in zoonotic cycles between mosquitoes or ticks and vertebrate hosts. Poor sampling of flaviviruses outside vector-borne flaviviruses has presented a narrow understanding of flavivirus diversity and evolution. In this study, we discovered three crustacean flaviviruses (Gammarus chevreuxi flavivirus, Gammarus pulex flavivirus, and Crangon crangon flavivirus) and two cephalopod flaviviruses (Southern Pygmy squid flavivirus and Firefly squid flavivirus). Bayesian and maximum likelihood phylogenetic methods demonstrate that crustacean flaviviruses form a well-supported clade and share a more closely related ancestor with terrestrial vector-borne flaviviruses than with classical insect-specific flaviviruses. In addition, we identified variants of Wenzhou shark flavivirus in multiple gazami crab () populations, with active replication supported by evidence of an active RNA interference response. This suggests that Wenzhou shark flavivirus moves horizontally between sharks and gazami crabs in ocean ecosystems. Analyses of the mono- and dinucleotide composition of marine flaviviruses compared to that of flaviviruses with known host status suggest that some marine flaviviruses share a nucleotide bias similar to that of vector-borne flaviviruses. Furthermore, we identify crustacean flavivirus endogenous viral elements that are closely related to elements of terrestrial vector-borne flaviviruses. Taken together, these data provide evidence of flaviviruses circulating between marine vertebrates and invertebrates, expand our understanding of flavivirus host range, and offer potential insights into the evolution and emergence of terrestrial vector-borne flaviviruses.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.

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