White spot syndrome virus (WSSV) is by far the most devastating shrimp virus. Control measures have lowered the WSSV incidence to various degrees, but the pathogen remains plaguing shrimp culture worldwide. Continuous exposure may cause WSSV to adapt and infect non-crustacean benthic fauna in ponds such as polychaetes, hence, extending WSSV host range to maintain virus persistence in ponds. Dendronereis spp. (Pieters 1854) are ubiquitous Nereid polychaetes in shrimp ponds in Indonesia and part of the shrimp’s natural diet. This thesis aimed to investigate the possible role of Dendronereis spp. in the transmission of WSSV in shrimp ponds. The significance of the findings may provide new insight on the persistence of WSSV in the pond environment and novel strategies for disease management. The investigation started with a survey to determine the occurrence of WSSV in Dendronereis spp. in Indonesia, followed by subsequent laboratory observations to determine the role of Dendronereis spp. in white spot syndrome disease development. Field surveys in selected ponds in two research locations in Indonesia, the Mahakam delta (East Kalimantan) and the vicinity of Semarang (Central Java), showed that WSSV infection in Dendronereis spp. is quite common. Point prevalence of WSSV infected Dendronereis spp. was 44 ± 27% (± SD). The average prevalence in Mahakam delta was 73 ± 22% and in Java 26 ± 38%. This result implied that WSSV-infected Dendronereis spp. are widely distributed. WSSV replicated in the gut of naturally-infected Dendronereis spp. as detected in cell nuclei via immunohistochemistry (IHC) using monoclonal antibodies and via RT-PCR to detect the viral mRNA. These experiments showed that Dendronereis spp. are natural and susceptible hosts of WSSV. WSSV was transmitted from naturally infected Dendronereis spp. to Litopenaeus vannamei (Boone 1931) through the oral route and further to new naïve shrimp showing natural transmission of WSSV from polychaetes to shrimp. This indicates that the transmission of WSSV from polycheates to shrimp is possible. An experiment using Hediste diversicolor (O.F. Müller 1776) as a more amenable alternative model animal to study WSSV infection in polychaetes showed that this polychaete was not susceptible to WSSV infection using methods commonly used to induce infection in shrimp. In ponds, WSSV infection incidence in Dendronereis spp. correlated positively with Dendronereis spp. density and with the proportion of WSSV infection in shrimp. Findings of the present study underscore that Dendronereis spp., as ubiquitous and resident animals in the shrimp ponds can be reservoir hosts of WSSV and responsible for disease transmission. However, further studies are needed to obtain a better understanding of the importance of Dendronereis spp in WSSV epidemiology in and beyond shrimp ponds.