The Bemisia tabaci cryptic (sibling) species group — imperative for a taxonomic reassessment

Judith K. Brown, Jorge R. Paredes-Montero, Ian C. Stocks

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The taxonomy of the Bemisia tabaci cryptic species group remains a challenge due to the lack of morphological differentiation and porous species boundaries among its members. Additionally, it is unclear whether B. tabaci consists of several species in evolutionary stasis with limited morphological change or is the result of a recent adaptive radiation characterized by great ecological diversity but little morphological divergence. Here, a historical overview of the development of the nomenclature used to classify B. tabaci is provided covering changes after synonymizing several species in 1957 until recent insights gained from whole-genome sequencing data. The article discusses the limitations of using a 3.5% mtCOI threshold and argues that a 1% nuclear divergence cutoff better reflects ecological and biogeographic species boundaries. Finally, a plan of action is outlined for naming B. tabaci species using a Latin binomial system in accordance with the International Comission on Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) regulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number101032
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
StatePublished - Jun 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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