Reproduction of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) B biotype in maize fields (Zea mays L.) in Brazil

Eliane D. Quintela, Aluana G. Abreu, Julyana F.Dos S. Lima, Gabriel M. Mascarin, Jardel B.Dos Santos, Judith K. Brown

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Bemisia tabaci (Genn.) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) was observed to have completed its reproductive cycle from the egg to the adult on maize (Zea mays L.). Field and screenhouse studies were carried out to investigate the durability of this putative and unprecedented adaptation to a grass host.

RESULTS: Analysis of the mitochondrial COI gene sequence identified the maize-associated B. tabaci as the exotic B biotype (major clade North Africa-Mediterranean-Middle East). Results showed that whiteflies migrated from soybean crops and successfully established in maize plants. Females exhibited a preference for oviposition primarily on the first and second leaves of maize, but were also able to colonise developing leaves. A high, natural infestation on maize (193.3 individuals, all developmental stages) was observed within a 7.1 cm2 designated 'observation area'. Whiteflies collected from naturally infested maize leaves and allowed to oviposit on maize seedlings grown in a screenhouse developed from egg to adulthood in 28.6 ± 0.2 days.

CONCLUSION: This is the first report of the B biotype completing its development on maize plants. This surprising anomaly indicates that the B biotype is capable of adapting to monocotyledonous host plants, and importantly, broadens the host range to include at least one species in the Poaceae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2181-2187
Number of pages7
JournalPest management science
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2016


  • Aleyrodidae
  • Poaceae
  • developmental time
  • host range
  • mitochondrial COI gene
  • phenotypic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science


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