Survey on whiteflies and their parasitoids in cassava mosaic pandemic areas of Tanzania using morphological and molecular techniques

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Abstract

BACKGROUND

Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) is the vector of cassava mosaic geminiviruses (CMGs) and cassava brown streak viruses (CBSVs) in Africa, which cause devastating yield losses. As a prerequisite to developing biological control methods and enhancing knowledge of the fauna of whitefly parasitoids in sub-Saharan Africa, endemic parasitoids were surveyed in the cassava-growing regions of Tanzania and analysed using both morphological and molecular methods. An attempt was made to corroborate the identification of the parasitoid species on the basis of consideration of their morphology and sequence analyses of three DNA fragments, namely partial cytochrome oxidase I (COI), the D2 expansion segment of the 28S rRNA and the internal transcribed spacer I (ITS1).

RESULTS

Eight whitefly species colonising cassava and twelve species of parasitoids were detected. A species in the Encarsia strenua group and a species in the Eretmocerus mundus group were the most common parasitoids. Molecular systematics indicated the occurrence of two new species of Eretmocerus Haldeman parasitising B. tabaci.

CONCLUSION

The accurate identification of natural enemies is an essential first step in developing effective biological control solutions for B. tabaci in Tanzania and the wider cassava-growing environments of Africa. The new data provided here represent an important contribution to this goal. © 2014 Society of Chemical Industry

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