Rugose spiraling whitefly, Aleurodicus rugioperculatus Martin (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), is an invasive species that underwent a period of outbreak in southern Florida (Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Broward, Martin, and Monroe counties) between 2010 and 2013. It infested numerous plant species in the landscape and nurseries of southern Florida and became a nuisance and economically damaging species in many urban areas. In order to study its oviposition preference, an experiment was conducted in a shadehouse using 5 known host plant species, namely coconut, Cocos nucifera L. (Aurecaceae); gumbo limbo, Bursera simaruba (L.) Sarg. (Burceraceae); avocado, Persea americana Mill. (Lauraceae); black olive, Bucida buceras L. (Combretaceae) var. ‘Shady Lady;' and giant white bird of paradise, Strelitzia nicolai Regel & Körn (Strelitziaceae). Gumbo limbo was the most preferred and giant white bird of paradise was the least preferred of the host plant species. This is consistent with survey data on frequency of plants serving on hosts provided by the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services-Division of Plant Industry. There was a significant difference between the number of eggs per spiral among host species with gumbo limbo having the highest number of eggs per spiral. No significant correlation was found between the leaf size and the number of eggs on each host species. A strong and significant correlation was found between the number of spirals and the number of eggs per plant species. Adult females deposited the first eggs on source plants, and later oviposited on test host plants, but always returned back to their eclosion site on the source plant. No statistically significant difference was found among the survival of rugose spiraling whitefly on different host plant species tested.
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Vol. 101 • No. 4