Effects of Sessile Whitefly Nymphs (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) on Leaf-Chewing Larvae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

Moshe Inbar, Hamed Doostdar, Richard T. Mayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The wide distribution, polyphagy, and the often severe effects of whiteflies, Bemisia spp., on their host plants cause a great potential for interspecific interactions between whiteflies and other insect herbivores. Feeding of the silverleaf whitefly, B. argentifolii Bellows & Perring, on collards, Brassica sp., induced high levels of pathogenesis-related proteins (e.g., chitinase, β-1,3-glucanase, peroxidase, and lysozyme) that are considered to play defensive roles against phytopathogens and insect pests. Total protein contents, however, were comparable with those of control plants. Development of cabbage looper larvae, Trichoplusia ni (Hübner), was 20.8% slower on whitefly-infested leaves than on control leaves; relative growth rate was reduced by 18% (P ≪ 0.01). Final larval weight and survival were not affected by whiteflies. When feeding on whitefly-infested !eaves, larvae were found more frequently on the adaxial side of the leaf, which is whitefly-free. The data suggest that early-instar cabbage looper larvae are negatively affected by whitefly infestations, but older instars become omnivores, consuming plant material as well as immature whiteflies. In the field, only 4% of the loopers survived to pupation on whitefly-infested plants, but 18% survived on the whitefly-free plants. The data emphasized the importance of the looper's larval stage in interspecific interaction and stressed the potentially significant effect of whiteflies on other herbivores in agroecosystems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-357
Number of pages5
JournalEnvironmental Entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 1999


  • Bemisia argentifolii
  • Induced response
  • Interspecific competition
  • Omnivory
  • Trichoplusia ni

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Insect Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Effects of Sessile Whitefly Nymphs (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae) on Leaf-Chewing Larvae (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this