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Keywords:

  • Insecta;
  • Bemisia tabaci;
  • whitefly;
  • oviposition;
  • survival;
  • squash silverleaf

Abstract

Biological characteristics (oviposition and survival rates) and esterase banding patterns in native PAGE were investigated to evaluate variation among three populations of Bemisia tabaci Gennadius (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae). Reproductive capabilities of whiteflies from cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) and pumpkin (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) populations were similar on the three host plant species tested. These populations, which had the same wild-type field origin, reproduced better on either cotton and pumpkin than on poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima Willdenow). In contrast, poinsettia whiteflies exhibited relatively similar reproductive capabilities for the three host species tested. Pumpkin and cotton whiteflies had similar esterase banding patterns (‘A’ type), while poinsettia whiteflies yielded a different banding pattern (‘B’ type). In transmission studies, whiteflies from cotton or pumpkin sources did not induce silverleaf (SSL) or white stem (WS) symptoms in Cucurbita spp. tested. In contrast, poinsettia whiteflies were associated routinely with SSL and WS symptoms in Cucurbita spp. following colonization by whitefly adults. From these data, it was possible to correlate a specific esterase banding pattern (A or B) with reproductive capabilities and the ability to induce SSL and WS symptoms.