International Journal of Tropical Insect Science

Research Article

Bionomics, morphometrics and molecular characterization of a cassava Bemisia afer (Priesner & Hosny) population

M.N. Maruthia1 c1, S. Navaneethana1, John Colvina1 and Rory J. Hillocksa1

a1 Plant, Animal and Human Health Group, Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, Central Avenue, Chatham Maritime, Kent, ME4 4TB, UK


Bionomics, morphometric measurements and partial mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I gene (mtCOI) sequences were examined for a population of Bemisia afer (Priesner & Hosny) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) collected from cassava in Uganda. The development of the eggs, first to fourth instar nymphs and adults required respectively, 12, 31 and 10 days, with a total life duration of approximately 53 days on the cassava cultivar Ebwanateraka. Each female laid one egg per day for 13 days and about 40% of the eggs failed to develop into adults. The male: female sex ratio was 1:4. The length and width of the four nymphal instars were positively correlated (correlation coefficient=0.97). Females were bigger than males and the sexes differed significantly based on body length (P<0.001) and width (P<0.001). Overlaps in their body sizes, however, makes sex assignment based on size alone unreliable. The B. afer population shared 68% mtCOI sequence (817 nucleotides) identity with a cassava Bemisia tabaci population (Namulonge) from Uganda. This is the first study on B. afer fecundity and morphometrics, and the variability that might exist in this species is discussed.

(Accepted July 14 2004)


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