Giant Whitefly – Aleurodicus dugesii
Giant Whitefly: Appearance, Territory, Damage and Life
Latin name: Aleurodicus dugesii
Appearances: With yellow bodies and white wings that have irregular, grayish-brown markings, adults of this species of whitefly are around 3 mm long, making them three times bigger than adults of other species. Nymph bodies are round, flat, and yellowish-translucent. Long wax filaments are secreted by the third and fourth instars.
Host plants: In Florida, hibiscus is the gigantic whitefly’s favorite host plant, but numerous ornamental plants, totaling 200 plant species from 35 families, are also good hosts.
Territory: Southern San Diego is home to the discovery of the giant whitefly, a pest of more than 50 typical ornamental plants. It kept expanding its range into California, where it was discovered near San Luis Obispo on the central Coast. By 2005, this pest had established itself in northern California’s Bay Area and surrounding areas, and later it was discovered in Butte County.
Damage insect caused: By actively feeding, giant whiteflies can directly harm plants. Both nymphs and adults of enormous whiteflies ingest plant sap by sticking their needle-like mouthparts into the vascular tissue or phloem of a leaf. The host plant is deprived of water and nutrients as a result of the gigantic whitefly’s feeding, which at high infestation levels can cause severe leaf senescence and abscission, which is followed by plant dieback. However, plants rarely perish as a result of huge whitefly feeding. During eating, huge whiteflies emit honeydew, a syrupy, sticky substance that gathers on leaves. The growth of the fungus that causes black sooty mold is made possible by this sugary fluid. Not only is sooty mold unsightly, but it also hinders the leaves’ capacity for photosynthetic food production.
Life cycle and habits: An egg, a series of four immature stages known as nymphs, and an adult stage make up the three developmental phases of the giant whitefly. On stalks inserted into the undersides of leaves, eggs, which are about the size of a pinhead, are laid one after the other in a spiral pattern. When laying eggs, females often coat them with wax.