Bemesia argentifolii

Bemesia argentifolii

Silverleaf Whitefly
Silverleaf whitefly.jpg
Type: Insect
Binomial: Bemesia argentifolii
Family: Aleyrodidae
Order: Hemiptera
Metamorphosis: Simple

The silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia argentifolii, formerly referred to as sweetpotato whitefly-strain B Bemisia tabaci) is one of several whiteflies that are currently important agricultural pests. The silverleaf whitefly was first found in poinsettia crops in Florida in the mid-1980's. It was found to have moved on to tomatoes and other fruit and vegetable crops less than a year later. Within five years, the silverleaf whitefly had caused over $100 million in damage to the Texas and California agriculture industries.


The adult silverleaf whitefly is about 1 millimeter in length and pale yellow in color.

Symptoms and SignsEdit

In addition to inflicting typical whitefly-type damage on plants, this species can transmit plant viruses such as geminiviruses. The broad mite (Polyphagotarsonemus latus) also uses the whitefly as a dispersal mechanism by clinging to the legs of the fly and dropping off at another plant.[1]


Host plantsEdit

  • Abelmoschus (Okra)
  • Acacia
  • Amaranthus
  • Arachis (Peanut)
  • Arum
  • Aster
  • Asystasia
  • Begonia
  • Brassica
  • Callistemon (Bottle Brush)
  • Canna
  • Capsicum
  • Carica (Papaya)
  • Centaurea (Bachelor’s Buttons)
  • Chenopodium
  • Citrullus
  • Coccinia (Scarlet Gourds)
  • Coleus
  • Colocasia (Taro)
  • Convolvulus
  • Cucumis
  • Cucurbita
  • Dahlia
  • Dendranthema
  • Euphorbia
  • Ficus
  • Gerbera
  • Glycine (Soybean)
  • Fuchsia
  • Gossypium
  • Hibiscus
  • Hydrangea
  • Impatiens
  • Ipomoea
  • Iris
  • Lactuca (Lettuce)
  • Lagerstroemia (Crepe Myrtle)
  • Lantana
  • Lycopersicon
  • Malva
  • Mandevilla
  • Medicago
  • Persea (Avocado)
  • Petunia
  • Phaseolus
  • Physalis (Ground Cherry)
  • Plumeria
  • Primula
  • Rosa
  • Solanum
  • Verbena
  • Viola


This particular pest has been shown to be a good candidate for biological pest control, as it has several natural enemies, including parasitic wasps such as Encarsia and Eretmocerus.


  1. Fan, Yuqing; Petitt, Frederick L. (Jul 1998). "Dispersal of the broad mite, Polyphagotarsonemus latus (Acari: Tarsonemidae) on Bemisia argentifolii (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae)". Experimental & Applied Acarology 22 (7): 411-5. doi:10.1023/A:1006045911286. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
Last modified on 3 June 2010, at 03:13