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Scientific name: Aleurodicus dispersus Russell and Bemisia tabaci  Gennadius


Egg masses of spiralling whitefly on leaf (E. Vasquez).


Sweetpotato whitefly adults  on leaf (E. Vasquez).

Diagnostic summary

  • What they do to plants

- whiteflies and their nymphs feeds on the undersurface of leaves by sucking the plant sap.


 - high whitefly population may cause yellowing and necrosis of infested leaves.

  • What you see on  plants

- nymphs appear as small white scale-like objects on the undersurface of leaves. When plant is shaken, a cloud of tiny moth-like insects flutter out but rapidly resettle.


- sooty mould may develop on the leaf surface due to honeydew produced by whiteflies.  The surface becomes coated with a blackish powder and expanding leaves may be distorted.

  • More important as a transmitter of viruses such as sweetpotato mild mottle virus, sweetpotato yellow dwarf disease, sweetpotato leaf curl, and particularly sweetpotato chlorotic stunt virus, a key component of sweetpotato virus disease.

  • More common during dry season.

  • Found worldwide.


Economic importance

Geographical distribution



Biology and ecology

Detection and inspection

Host range




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