Document Type


Date of Original Version



Biological Sciences


The whitefly, Bemisia tabaci Gennadius, is a major phloem-feeding pest of agricultural crops that is also an important vector of many plant diseases. The B. tabaci Mediterranean (‘MED’) biotype is a particularly effective vector of Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), a devastating plant pathogen. Although insecticides play an important role in the control of MED and TYLCV, little is known about how TYLCV infection affects MED susceptibility to insecticides. We conducted research addressing how MED susceptibility to flupyradifurone, the first commercially available systemic control agent derived from the butenolide class of insecticides, was affected by TYLCV infection. We first conducted bioassays determining the LC15 and LC50 for control and viruliferous MED feeding on either water- or insecticide-treated plants. We next measured several demographic parameters of control and viruliferous MED exposed to either insecticide- or water-treated plants. TYLCV infection increased MED tolerance of flupyradifurone: the LC15 and LC50 of viruliferous MED were double that of uninfected MED. Viral infection also altered MED demographic responses to flupyradifurone, but in an inconsistent manner. Although the ability of TYLCV and other persistently transmitted viruses to benefit Bemisia via manipulation of host plant defense is well known, this appears to be the first example of virally mediated changes in vector susceptibility to an insecticide.