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Keywords:

  • Bemisia tabaci ;
  • biotypes;
  • host plant;
  • secondary symbionts;
  • West Africa

Abstract.  1. The whitefly Bemisia tabaci is a pest of many agricultural and ornamental crops worldwide and particularly in Africa. B. tabaci is a complex of more than 20 biotypes. Effective control of B. tabaci calls for a greater knowledge of the local biological diversity in terms of biotypes or putative species. Information is available about biotype distribution in Northern, Eastern, and Southern Africa, but data for Western Africa remain very scarce. At the time of this study, data were available for only three sampling sites in Burkina Faso, where three biotypes have been detected, the native Sub-Saharan Africa non-Silver Leafing (AnSL), the Sub-Saharan Africa Silverleafing (ASL), and the Mediterranean Q biotypes, but no information is available about their respective distributions on host plant species (Gueguen et al., 2010).

2. Our study describes the biotypes and symbiotic bacterial communities of B. tabaci sampled in three West African countries, Burkina Faso, Benin, and Togo. A total of 527 individuals were collected from seven cultivated host plants.

3. In the 20 localities studied, we found the same three biotypes AnSL, ASL, and Q previously detected in Burkina Faso. These biotypes display a specific pattern of geographical distribution influenced by the host plant species. In Benin and Togo, the ASL and AnSL biotypes were predominant, while in Burkina Faso, the Q biotype was dominant, with two sub-groups, Q1 and Q3 (recorded to date only in this country), and ASL individuals found in sympatry with Q1 individuals in some localities. As previously reported, each biotype and each genetic group harbours a specific community of symbiotic bacteria.