Study on evidence of spread of Bemisia tabaci mediated by internal transportation of ornamental plants in Brazil

Two Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) species, Middle East-Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1) and Mediterranean (MED) are major pests that are dispersed throughout the world. While MEAM1 was introduced in Brazil in the 1990s, MED was reported recently with limited spread.

Here, a survey was performed to examine whether MED whiteflies are widely present in the Federal District region, in central Brazil. Whiteflies were collected in various locations in the Federal District and surroundings between 2018 and 2020, including garden centers and small- and large-scale farms. The species were identified using RFLPand sequencing of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase I subunit gene region. Out of 108 whitefly batches, 63.89% were composed exclusively by MEAM1, followed by 16.67% presenting only MED, and another 7.40% containing unidentified whitefly species (NI).

Plant varieties serving as hosts for more than one whitefly species were observed in 12.04% of the samples, either by MEAM1/MED, MEAM1/NI, or MED/NI. This study highlights the still limited presence of MED in the Federal District and surroundings, predominantly in garden centers and in the green belt of Brasília, closer to urban areas. In contrast, only MEAM1 was identified in large-scale cultivated areas.

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da Silva Rodrigues, Cristiano & Nakasu, Erich & Ortiz, Gustavo & Pereira, José & Lucena-Leandro, Vivian & Rêgo-Machado, Camila & Souza, Tadeu & Martins, Thais & Nagata, Alice. (2021). Evidence of Spread of Bemisia tabaci (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) Mediated by Internal Transportation of Ornamental Plants in Brazil. Neotropical Entomology. 10.1007/s13744-021-00881-3. 

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