Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Whitefly Secrets To Success: How To Become One Of The World's Top Invasive Species

Date:
November 15, 2007
Source:
American Association for the Advancement of Science
Summary:
A population of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci has become one of the world's worst invasive species -- devastating many crops in China and elsewhere in the process -- through mating behaviors that help it invade the territory of native whitefly populations, according to a new study.

Sweetpotato whiteflies, Bemisia tabaci, feeding on a watermelon leaf.
Credit: USDA, Photo by Stephen Ausmus

A population of the whitefly Bemisia tabaci has become one of the world's worst invasive pests -- devastating many crops in China and elsewhere in the process -- through mating behaviors that help it invade the territory of native whitefly populations, according to a new study conducted in China and Australia.

The researchers report that the invasive whiteflies are successful at least in part because they breed more when they come into contact with native whiteflies, and they also suppress the native whiteflies' reproduction rates.

The study demonstrates that behavior can play a critical role in animal invasions, the authors say. Understanding the invasion process is important for pest management, because it helps researchers make accurate estimates of how rapidly and to what extent an alien pest can be expected to invade and displace its native relatives.

The whitefly species, B. tabaci, consists of many different genetic groups or "biotypes." Biotype B, which probably originated in the Mediterranean-Asia Minor region and has spread through much of the world, is the one considered to be among the world's worst agricultural pests.

The insect reached Australia in the early 1990s and China in the mid-1990s, through the transport of ornamental and other plants. It affects many different types of crops, causing damage by feeding on plant leaves and spreading viral infections.

"The invasive pest reported in our paper is currently devastating China's agriculture and environment," said lead author Shu-Sheng Liu of Zhejiang University in Hangzhou, China. "As China's agriculture is more fragile than that of many developed countries, I expect the damage here will be much more severe and will continue for many years. I just returned from a three-day field trip, it was sad to see many tomato growers in Zhejiang are suffering complete loss of their entire crop this season due to this pest and the viruses it transmits,".

Dr. Liu and his colleagues conducted regular field sampling of whitefly populations in Zhejiang, China, from 2004 to 2006, and in Queensland, Australia, from 1995 to 2005, to monitor the B biotype whitefly behavior as it spread and displaced native whiteflies in the two regions.

They also conducted experimental population studies, simulating the displacement process on caged cotton plants. And, they developed a specialized video recording system to observe and analyze the insects' movement as well as the mating interactions between alien and native whiteflies on live plants.

The authors identified what they call an "asymmetry" in mating interactions between the invader and native whiteflies, whereby female biotype B whiteflies copulated with biotype B males more frequently when native whiteflies were also present. And, though male biotype B whiteflies didn't copulate with native females, they did court the native females, interfering with copulation between native males and females.

These findings will be published online by the journal Science, at the Science Express website, on 8 November, 2007. 

"Asymmetric Mating Interactions Drive Widespread Invasion and Displacement in a Whitefly," by Shu-Sheng Liu, Jing Xu, Jun-Bo Luan, Lian-Sheng Zang and Yong-Ming Ruan of Zhejiang University In Hangzhou, China; P. J. De Barro of CSIRO Entomology in Indooropilly, Australia; and Fang-Hao Wan of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, in Beijing, China. This study was supported by the National Basic Research and Development Program of China, National Natural Science Foundation of China, Ministry of Education of China, CSIRO Entomology, Horticulture Australia, and the Grains and Cotton Research and Development Corporations.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Association for the Advancement of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

American Association for the Advancement of Science. "Whitefly Secrets To Success: How To Become One Of The World's Top Invasive Species." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 November 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071108141601.htm>.
American Association for the Advancement of Science. (2007, November 15). Whitefly Secrets To Success: How To Become One Of The World's Top Invasive Species. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071108141601.htm
American Association for the Advancement of Science. "Whitefly Secrets To Success: How To Become One Of The World's Top Invasive Species." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/11/071108141601.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

Calif. Quake Underscores Need for Early Warning

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) — Researchers at UC Berkeley are testing a prototype of an earthquake early warning system that California is pursuing years after places like Mexico and Japan already have them up and running. (August 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Hurricane Marie Brings Big Waves to California Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) — Huge waves generated by Hurricane Marie hit the Southern California coast. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Brazil Tries Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

Brazil Tries Genetically Modified Mosquitoes to Fight Dengue

AFP (Aug. 25, 2014) — A factory in the industrial state of Sao Paulo produces genetically modified mosquitoes to fight dengue, a deadly tropical disease more prevalent in Brazil than anywhere else in the world. Duration: 00:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Prime Minister at Japan Landslide Site

Raw: Prime Minister at Japan Landslide Site

AP (Aug. 25, 2014) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hiroshima on Monday as rescuers expanded their search for dozens still missing from landslides around the western Japanese city that killed at least 50 people. (Aug. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins