Bemisia tabaci

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Bemisia tabaci
Author: Stephen Ausmus, US Department of Agriculture
Wikimedia Commons

Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius, 1889) - (sweet potato whitefly)

This whitefly is a very destructive, colony-forming pest with a world-wide distribution in tropical and subtropical regions. It is also a common greenhouse pest in temperate regions. It is extremely polyphagous and will infests, for example, cotton, vegetables and ornamentals. It often causes substantial crop losses. It is further a very important vector of plant viruses (e.g. tomato and cucurbit virus diseases) and transmits all geminiviruses of subgroup III.

The adults are about 1 mm long (excluding the wings) with males being slightly smaller than females. The life cycle from egg, over the crawler and 4 nymphal stages, to mature adult lasts around 1-2 months. The adults are not good fliers but can be transported by wind. Spread to other countries occurs mainly through infested planting materials.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Tabakmottenschildlaus
• English: sweet potato whitefly
cotton whitefly
tobacco whitefly
• Español: mosca blanca de camote
mosca blanca del tabaco
• Français: mouche blanche de la patate douce
aleurode du tabac
aleurode du cotonnier
• Português: mosca-branca-do-feijão

Several biotypes have been described, based on their mitochondrial DNA structure and the fact that crosses between these biotypes do not produce any offspring. Typically, any 2 biotypes have a higher than 3% divergence in their sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene. For example, this gene is ~5% different when comparing the biotypes MEAM1 and MED. Some of these biotypes are very invasive, e.g. biotype MEAM1 and biotype MED. They often cause considerable economic damage and tend to replace the native biotypes.

For more details see the respective page in Wikipedia.

The following biotypes have been currently entered into the system: