Bemisia tabaci (Silverleaf whitefly, Asia II-5) (ASIAII5_n227_616Mb)

Bemisia tabaci Asia II 5

Whiteflies of the Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) species complex are phloem-feeding insects and plant-virus vectors, some of which are widely regarded to be amongst the world’s worst agricultural pests. Outbreaks of B. tabaci cause significant crop losses and contribute to global food insecurity.

The B. tabaci species found on cassava (Manihot esculenta) in southern India and Asia has the name, Bemisia tabaci Asia II 5 [1]. It is a separate species from those found on cassava in Africa, which include, for example, B. tabaci Sub-Saharan Africa 1-Subgroup 1.

Since 2016, cassava mosaic disease (CMD; Sri Lankan cassava mosaic virus), has been devastating cassava production in countries of Southeast Asia. To date, populations of B. tabaci Asia II 1 have been associated with CMD-infected cassava in these regions [2], although the host-range of this species remains unclear. In South Asia and South India, however, B. tabaci Asia II 5 is a pest of cassava and transmits Indian cassava mosaic virus (ICMV) [3,4]. Transmission experiments have shown that co-adaptation has occurred between the sympatric mosaic-viruses and B. tabaci species [3], i.e., B. tabaci Asia II 5 transmits the ICMV significantly more efficiently that the mosaic viruses of African origin.

The genome described here was generated from an Indian population of B. tabaci Asia II 5, that was inbred in the laboratory to reduce heterozygosity.

The Bemisia tabaci cryptic species complex

Members of the B. tabaci species complex cause plant damage by feeding on plant-phloem sap, inducing phytotoxic disorders, depositing honeydew on which sooty moulds develop and by vectoring > 300 plant-virus species in the genera Begomovirus, Carlavirus, Crinivirus, Ipomovirus, Polerovirus and Torradovirus [5,6]. Diseases caused by these viruses often spread rapidly with devastating yield losses of up to 100% [7].

Bemisia tabaci sensu lato currently represents a relatively large group (>44) of mostly unresolved cryptic species, as inferred from phylogenetic species delimitation studies [1,8]. These morphologically indistinguishable species differ from one another not only in their genetic relatedness, but also in various biological traits such as plant host-range breadth, fecundity, insecticide resistance, and plant-virus transmission efficiencies.

Bemisia tabaci sensu lato are distributed globally, from tropical to temperate climatic zones and across all continents (except Antarctica) [1]. Most cryptic species in this complex, as currently understood, are geographically restricted, but two of them are highly invasive globally i.e., B. tabaci Middle East-Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1, also referred to as biotype B and Bemisia argentifolii) and B. tabaci Mediterranean (MED, also referred to as biotype Q) [1]. Bemisia tabaci sensu lato live predominantly on herbaceous plant hosts and have been recorded from an exceedingly broad range of host plants (>500 species) [9]. The documented host-plant range of most cryptic species within the complex remains largely incomplete.

Picture credit: Sharon van Brunschot.

Taxonomy ID 7038

Data source Ensembl Metazoa

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Genome assembly: ASIAII5_n227_616Mb

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Gene annotation

What can I find? Protein-coding and non-coding genes, splice variants, cDNA and protein sequences, non-coding RNAs.

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Comparative genomics

What can I find? Homologues, gene trees, and whole genome alignments across multiple species.

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Phylogenetic overview of gene families

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This species currently has no variation database. However you can process your own variants using the Variant Effect Predictor:

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