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Bemisia tabaci in Iraq: Population structure, endosymbiont diversity and putative species

Lookup NU author(s): Ali Kareem, Dr Samuel LoganORCiD, Dr Gordon Port, Dr Kirsten Wolff



This is the authors' accepted manuscript of an article that has been published in its final definitive form by Wiley-Blackwell Verlag GmbH, 2020.

For re-use rights please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.


Whiteflies (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) are major pests of many crops worldwide. Bemisia tabaci is a cryptic species complex composed of more than 39 putative species. Understanding which putative species of B. tabaci are predominant in an area is vital for effective pest management since they may vary considerably with respect to insecticide resistance, host plant range and virus transmission. Here, for the first time, the genetic diversity, the symbiont diversity and population structure of B. tabaci in Iraq were studied. Fourteen populations were analysed using mitochondrial cytochrome C oxidase subunit 1 (mtCO1) sequencing and microsatellite genotyping. Symbiotic bacteria were identified using 16S rRNA and 23S rRNA sequencing. MtCO1 sequencing detected two putative species of B. tabaci. The predominant putative species in Iraq was Middle East‐Asia Minor (MEAM) 1 subcladeB2. In addition, one individual was MEAM1‐subcladeB. The second putative species was a single individual of MEAM2. The microsatellite data indicated low genetic diversity, with no biologically informative clustering. All MEAM1 individuals harboured one primary symbiont, Portiera aleyrodidarum, and most (96%) have two secondary symbionts: Hamiltonella sp. and Rickettsia sp. This study has identified the genetic diversity and population structure of B. tabaci in Iraq. Further investigation is needed to update the pest status of B. tabaci in this region. The current data, combined with investigations into the capacity of the various putative species to transmit plant viruses, especially tomato yellow leaf curl virus, will aid pest management and horticultural production.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kareem AA, Logan SA, Port G, Wolff K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Applied Entomology

Year: 2020

Volume: 144

Issue: 4

Pages: 297-307

Print publication date: 01/05/2020

Online publication date: 23/02/2020

Acceptance date: 09/01/2020

Date deposited: 16/03/2020

ISSN (print): 0931-2048

ISSN (electronic): 1439-0418

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Verlag GmbH


DOI: 10.1111/jen.12736


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Funder referenceFunder name
Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research in Iraq
University of Kerbala