Skip to main content
ARS Home » Southeast Area » Charleston, South Carolina » Vegetable Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #298247

Title: Climate change and Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae): Impacts of temperature and carbon dioxide on life history

item Curnutte, Levi
item Simmons, Alvin
item ABD-RABOU, SHAABAN - Egyptian Ministry Of Agriculture

Submitted to: Annals of the Entomological Society of America
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/8/2014
Publication Date: 9/1/2014
Publication URL:
Citation: Curnutte, L.B., Simmons, A.M., Abd-Rabou, S. 2014. Climate change and Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae): Impacts of temperature and carbon dioxide on life history. Annals of the Entomological Society of America. 107(5): 933-943.

Interpretive Summary: Climate change is associated with increases in global temperatures and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the air, and may affect the biology and behavior of insect pests. The sweetpotato whitefly is a severe global pest that attacks and transmits many plant viruses in crops and it could be impacted by climate alterations. Thus, a study was conducted to examine the effect of variable temperature and CO2 levels on the life history (egg laying, immature survival, and reproduction) of the sweetpotato whitefly. Whitefly populations reared in the warmest regime (91°F) generally had an inferior performance in cooler temperatures as compared with whitefly populations reared in cooler regimes. Egg laying, immature survival, and reproduction of whiteflies were affected by temperature, with reproductive success falling to 36% when at a 91°F environment. Adult whitefly size (body length and width) decreased as the temperature increased. CO2 enrichment (750 ppm) did not have any effect on whitefly egg laying and immature survival. Results from this study will help in understanding the impact of different temperatures on whiteflies and also in developing effective pest management strategies with climate change likely in the future.

Technical Abstract: Climate change is relevant to life around the globe. A rise in ambient temperature and CO2 may have various impacts on arthropods such as altered life cycles, modified reproductive patterns, and changes in distribution. The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), is a global agricultural pest responsible for significant economic losses annually. This study was conducted to determine the impacts of changing temperature and CO2 levels on selected life history parameters of B-biotype B. tabaci. Populations were established at three temperature regimes (25, 28, and 33°C), and each population was evaluated in all three environments. Collard, Brassica oleracea ssp. acephala de Condolle (Brassicaceae), was used as the host. Oviposition, immature survival, and net reproduction were significantly affected by temperature, with net reproductive success declining to a minimum of 36.4% at 33°C. Overall, 28°C was most favorable for whitefly fitness. However, the optimal temperature for B. tabaci reproduction may be between 28° and 33°C. There were no temperature effects on total nonstructural carbohydrate concentrations in collard, and impacts of the host plant on whitefly development in the different environments were determined to be minimal. An environment of enriched CO2 (750 ppm) was not observed to have an adverse effect on whitefly reproduction. Temperature was negatively correlated with adult body size. Length and width of males and females were significantly affected by temperature. Data regarding population dynamics of B. tabaci in response to climate change are important for accurate predictions and improving management practices.