Biology of rugose spiraling whitefly: Fecundity, survival, and parthenogenesis on Strelitzia nicolai

Monday, November 17, 2014: 8:00 AM
F152 (Oregon Convention Center)
Siavash Taravati , Tropical Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Homestead, FL
Catharine M. Mannion , Tropical Research and Education Center, University of Florida, Homestead, FL
Rugose spiraling whitefly (Aleurodicus rugioperculatus) is an invasive pest in south Florida.  This whitefly causes damage to a wide variety of trees and shrubs including ornamental, fruit and palm trees as well as becoming an extreme nuisance due to the excessive honeydew and wax it produces.   It is also at high risk of being spread to new areas.  In order to understand the biology of this pest, life-fecundity was studied under three different experimental cage settings: 1) an individual female in a 24” rearing cage 2) an individual female in a small leaf clip-cage 3) a group of females in a 24” rearing cage. In the first experiment, fecundity was 36.5 ± 14.1 eggs/female and females always returned to the same location in which they developed into adults. In the second experiment, individual female fecundity was greatly increased to 225.5 ± 26 eggs/female.  In the third experiment, fecundity ranged between the two other tests at 137.2 eggs/female. Caged studies were conducted to determine the egg to adult survival which was 28 ± 4% on average. Tests were conducted to verify that this whitefly has arrhenotokous parthenogenesis in which unmated females produce only males and mated females produce both males and females. The information from these experiments can help us to better understand the reproductive biology and the population growth of this whitefly and may help to predict predator-prey population dynamics when studying this whitefly and it natural enemies.