Diversity and Distribution of Cryptic Species of the Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) complex in Pakistan

Mariyam Masood, Imran Amin, Ishtiaq Hassan, Shahid Mansoor, Judith K. Brown, Rob W. Briddon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius; Hempitera: Aleyrodidae) is considered to be a cryptic (sibling) species complex, the members of which exhibit morphological invariability while being genetically and behaviorally distinct. Members of the complex are agricultural pests that cause direct damage by feeding on plants, and indirectly by transmitting viruses that cause diseases leading to reduced crop yield and quality. In Pakistan, cotton leaf curl disease, caused by multiple begomovirus species, is the most economically important viral disease of cotton. In the study outlined here, the diversity and geographic distribution of B. tabaci cryptic species was investigated by analyzing a taxonomically informative fragment of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 gene (mtCOI-3'). The mtCOI-3 sequence was determined for 285 adult whiteflies and found to represent six cryptic species, the most numerous being Asia II-1 and Middle East Asia Minor 1 (MEAM-1), the later also referred to as the B-biotype, which was previously thought to be confined to Sindh province but herein, was also found to be present in the Punjab province. The endemic Asia I was restricted to Sindh province, while an individual in the Asia II-8 was identified in Pakistan for the first time. Also for the first time, samples were collected from northwestern Pakistan and Asia II-1 was identified. Results indicate that in Pakistan the overall diversity of B. tabaci cryptic species is high and, based on comparisons with findings from previous studies, the distribution is dynamic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2295-2300
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of economic entomology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017


  • Bemisia tabaci
  • Cotton
  • Mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I
  • Phylogenetic analysis
  • Whitefly

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


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