Submitted to: European Journal of Plant Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/5/2011
Publication Date: 5/26/2011
Citation: Guevara-Coto, J.A., Barboza-Vargas, N., Hernadez-Jimenez, E., Hammond, R., Ramirez-Fonseca, P. 2011. First report of Bemisia tabaci biotype Q in Costa Rica and detection of viruliferous whiteflies in greenhouses. European Journal of Plant Pathology. 131:167-170. Interpretive Summary: Whiteflies are among the most important pests in agriculture as they transmit a number of plant viruses and are prevalent worldwide. Until recently, the most important whitefly species in Costa Rica were the greenhouse whitefly and a specific type of the silverleaf whitefly; however, a new, insecticide-resistant type of the silverleaf whitefly has been increasing in incidence in several countries. Using molecular tools, we determined that the new type was present in greenhouses in which tomato and peppers are grown, representing both the first report of the new type in Costa Rica as well as its presence at high altitudes. This information has been communicated to growers in Costa Rica and is being used to assess the incidence of the insect and the economic impact on tomato and pepper production. The results impact U.S. agriculture as this new whitefly type is emerging as a serious threat to vegetable production in North America.
Technical Abstract: Whiteflies are a complex that comprises multiple species and biotypes or races which are capable of affecting crops by phloem feeding, virus transmission and promotion of fungal colonization. The distribution of these pests is worldwide. In Costa Rica, a country located in the tropics, the most problematic whiteflies are Bemisia tabaci biotype B and Trialeurodes vaporariorum. In September 2009, two greenhouses in the Alfaro Ruiz region, northwest of the country’s capital, San Jose, were surveyed as part of a larger effort to determine the occurrence of species and races of whiteflies in this agronomically important region. In addition, the insect samples were analyzed to to determine whether they were viruliferous for Tomato chlorosis virus (ToCV), a yield-affecting Crinivirus transmitted by whiteflies. Our results revealed the presence of the Q biotype of B. tabaci as well as the expected T. vaporariorum, important as a major invasive species. Viral detection assays identified insects viruliferous for Tomato chlorosis virus and indicated that not only a new pest capable of harboring plant viruses has been identified but also a viral agent which might cause significant yield losses.