Quote this article:Yin-quan LIU,Shu-sheng LIU. Species status of Bemisia tabaci complex and their distributions in China[J]. Journal of Biosafety, 2012, 21(4): 247-255.
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Species status of Bemisia tabaci complex and their distributions in China
Yin-quan LIU, Shu-sheng LIU
浙江大学昆虫科学研究所, 浙江 杭州 310058
The whitefly Bemisia tabaci is widely distributed in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. In the last 20 years, some genetic groups of B.tabaci have invaded many parts of the world and caused serious damage to crop production. While the genetic diversity and complexity of this whitefly have long been recognized, its species status, in particular whether B.tabaci is one species containing many biotypes or a complex containing many cryptic species, has been a subject of debate. In recent years, substantial progress has been made in studies on the phylogeny and systematics of B.tabaci, and evidence suggests that this whitefly is a species complex containing at least 31 cryptic species. However, data on reproductive isolation are yet insufficient and the results of phylogenetic analyses have been questioned because they relied on only the COⅠ gene. While most scientists in the whitefly science community have rapidly accepted that B.tabaci is a whitefly species complex, some scientists continue to use the concept that B.tabaci is composed of many biotypes. In China, 13 indigenous and two invasive whitefly species have been recorded. The indigenous species occur only in the southern and south eastern parts of China and the diversity declined from south to the north. The invasive cryptic species Middle East Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1), formerly referred to as "B biotype", entered China in middle 1990s, and the invasive cryptic species Mediterranean (MED), formerly referred to as "Q biotype", was first found in China around 2003, and thereafter they displaced rapidly the indigenous whiteflies in many regions. Both MEAM1 and MED whitefly occur sympatrically in most provinces of China. However, data from extensive field surveys indicated that MED has been displacing MEAM1 in many regions after 2005, probably due to, at least in part, the higher level of insecticide resistance to neonicotinoids in MED than that in MEAM1. The difficulties in the classification and nomenclature of this species complex and the likely biases of field sampling are also discussed.
Key words:  Bemisia tabaci  cryptic species complex  phylogenetic analysis  distribution
Institute of Insect Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310058, China