Journal of Pest Science

, Volume 85, Issue 4, pp 423–430 | Cite as

Host preference and nymph performance of B and Q putative species of Bemisia tabaci on three host plants

  • Xiaoguo Jiao
  • Wen Xie
  • Shaoli Wang
  • Qingjun Wu
  • Long Zhou
  • Huipeng Pan
  • Baiming Liu
  • Youjun Zhang
Original Paper


Host selection is central to understanding the evolution of the interaction between herbivorous insects and host plants. Most studies on host selection of herbivorous insects are focused on the optimal oviposition theory which posits that the herbivores preferentially oviposit on plants that provide optimal conditions for offspring development (preference–performance hypothesis). However, the positive correlation between female oviposition preference and offspring performance is not always observed. Here, we determined the relationship between whitefly settling and oviposition preference and nymph performance of B and Q putative species of Bemisia tabaci on three host plants, cotton Gossypium hirsutum L., tomato Lycopersicum esculentum Mill, and poinsettia Euphorbia pulcherrima Wild. We further investigated whether nutritional and defensive chemistry of the three host species shaped whitefly settling and oviposition preference of both putative species. Foliar chemistry differed significantly among the three host species. Compared to cotton and tomato foliage, poinsettia foliage was 8 % lower in nitrogen, 60 % higher in carbohydrate, and 90 % higher in phenolic compounds, respectively. When given a choice, B and Q putative species of B. tabaci preferred settling on nutritionally superior tomato, whereas both putative species preferentially oviposited on nutritionally inferior poinsettia. Nymph survivorship of B and Q putative species was substantially reduced and nymph developmental duration (egg-to-adult) was markedly prolonged on poinsettia relative to those reared on cotton and tomato. Therefore, our results are consistent with the optimal foraging theory, rather than the optimal oviposition theory. Females of B and Q putative species of B. tabaci preferentially ovipositing on poinsettia may be a trade-off between nymph performance and the avoidance of natural enemy.


Bemisia tabaci Oviposition preference Host suitability Nymph performance 



This study was funded by National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars (31025020), Key Project of Chinese National Programs for Fundamental Research and Development (2009CB119200, 2009CB119004), National Natural Science Foundation of China (31171857), and Key Laboratory of Biology and Genetic Improvement of Horticultural Crops, Ministry of Agriculture, P. R. China. Authors thank Daiqin Li and Hao Zhen for their helpful comments on the manuscript. Special thanks go to the anonymous reviewers for their comments and constructive criticisms.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Xiaoguo Jiao
    • 1
    • 2
  • Wen Xie
    • 1
  • Shaoli Wang
    • 1
  • Qingjun Wu
    • 1
  • Long Zhou
    • 1
  • Huipeng Pan
    • 1
  • Baiming Liu
    • 1
  • Youjun Zhang
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Vegetables and Flowers, Chinese Academy of Agricultural SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Faculty of Life SciencesHubei UniversityWuhanChina

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