The tobacco whitefly Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) is a cryptic species complex with members capable of inducing huge economic losses. Precise identification of members of this complex proves essential in managing existing populations and preventing new incursions. Despite records of serious outbreaks of this pest in Malaysia little is known about species status of B. tabaci in this region.To address this, a comprehensive sampling of B. tabaci from different host plants was conducted in 10 states of Malaysia from 2010 to 2012. Members of the complex were identified by sequencing partial mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase subunit I (mtCOI) gene and constructing a Bayesian phylogenetic tree. Seven putative species were identified including Asia I, Mediterranean (MED), China 1, China 2, Asia II 6, Asia II 7, and Asia II 10.The most important finding of the study is the identification of the invasive MED species from locations without previous records of this species. All putative species except Asia I and MED are recorded from Malaysia for the first time. This study provided the first introductory map of B. tabaci species composition in Malaysia and emphasizes the urgent need for further studies to assess the status of MED invasion in this country.
Bemisia tabaci species complex