African ancestry of New World, Bemisia tabaci-whitefly species

Sci Rep. 2018 Feb 9;8(1):2734. doi: 10.1038/s41598-018-20956-3.


Bemisia tabaci whitefly species are some of the world's most devastating agricultural pests and plant-virus disease vectors. Elucidation of the phylogenetic relationships in the group is the basis for understanding their evolution, biogeography, gene-functions and development of novel control technologies. We report here the discovery of five new Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) B. tabaci putative species, using the partial mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase 1 gene: SSA9, SSA10, SSA11, SSA12 and SSA13. Two of them, SSA10 and SSA11 clustered with the New World species and shared 84.8‒86.5% sequence identities. SSA10 and SSA11 provide new evidence for a close evolutionary link between the Old and New World species. Re-analysis of the evolutionary history of B. tabaci species group indicates that the new African species (SSA10 and SSA11) diverged from the New World clade c. 25 million years ago. The new putative species enable us to: (i) re-evaluate current models of B. tabaci evolution, (ii) recognise increased diversity within this cryptic species group and (iii) re-estimate divergence dates in evolutionary time.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Animals
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / genetics
  • Genetic Variation*
  • Hemiptera / classification*
  • Hemiptera / genetics*
  • Pest Control
  • Phylogeny


  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • Electron Transport Complex IV