Bemisia tabaci: A Statement of Species Status

Annual Review of Entomology

Vol. 56:1-19 (Volume publication date January 2011)
First published online as a Review in Advance on July 23, 2010


Bemisia tabaci has long been considered a complex species. It rose to global prominence in the 1980s owing to the global invasion by the commonly named B biotype. Since then, the concomitant eruption of a group of plant viruses known as begomoviruses has created considerable management problems in many countries. However, an enduring set of questions remains: Is B. tabaci a complex species or a species complex, what are Bemisia biotypes, and how did all the genetic variability arise? This review considers these issues and concludes that there is now sufficient evidence to state that B. tabaci is not made up of biotypes and that the use of biotype in this context is erroneous and misleading. Instead, B. tabaci is a complex of 11 well-defined high-level groups containing at least 24 morphologically indistinguishable species.