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Title: Forty-nine New Host Plant Species for Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae)

item Simmons, Alvin
item Harrison Jr, Howard
item Ling, Kai-Shu

Submitted to: Entomological Science (Japan)
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 6/12/2008
Publication Date: 12/1/2008
Citation: Simmons, A.M., Harrison Jr, H.F., Ling, K. 2008. Forty-nine New Host Plant Species for Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae). Entomological Science (Japan). 11:385-390.

Interpretive Summary: The sweetpotato whitefly is an important pest of many crops in fields and greenhouses. It feeds on wild and crop plants, and it transmits plant viruses to crops. To help protect crops from this whitefly and the viruses it carries, it is important to know the plants on which they feed. A screening study was done with the B-biotype sweetpotato whitefly on 120 different types of plants including crops, weeds, and native plants. We found 49 new host plants of this whitefly. The whitefly fed, laid eggs, and completed its development on all of the new hosts. The host list includes 11 new genera of plants for this whitefly. The new host plants include: three crops (oats, proso millet, and winter wheat), weeds and other wild plants. Among the new host plants, there are several Ipomoea species (such as different morningglory types). The Ipomoea plants are relatives of sweetpotato. These results are useful to the agricultural community because of the many viruses that are spread to and among crops by the sweetpotato whitefly.

Technical Abstract: The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), is a worldwide pest of numerous agricultural and ornamental crops. In addition to directly feeding on plants, it also acts as a vector of plant viruses of cultivated and uncultivated host plant species. Moreover, host plants can affect the population dynamics of whiteflies. An open-choice screening experiment was conducted with B-biotype B. tabaci on a diverse collection of crops, weeds, and other indigenous plant species. Five of the plant species were further evaluated in choice or no-choice tests in the laboratory. The results reveal 49 new reproductive host plant species for B. tabaci. This includes 11 new genera of host plants (Arenaria, Avena, Carduus, Dichondra, Glechoma, Gnaphalium, Molugo, Panicum, Parthenocissus, Trianthema, and Triticum) for this whitefly. All species that served as hosts were acceptable for feeding, oviposition, and development to the adult stage by B. tabaci. The new hosts include three cultivated crops [oats (Avena sativa L.), proso millet (Panicum miliaceum L.), and winter wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)], weeds and other wild species, including 32 Ipomoea species, which are relatives of sweetpotato [I. batatas (L.) Lam.)]. Yellow nutsedge, Cyperus esculentus L., did not serve as a host for B. tabaci in either open-choice or no-choice tests. The results have implications for whitefly ecology and the numerous viruses that B. tabaci spreads to and among cultivated plants.