Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) is a globally distributed pest. One of the key endosymbionts in B. tabaci is Wolbachia, an α-proteobacterium implicated in many important biological processes. Previous studies indicated that the infection frequency of Wolbachia in Middle East-Asia Minor 1 (MEAM1) and Mediterranean (MED) varied greatly among populations in different areas. However, little is known about the factors that influence the prevalence of Wolbachia in B. tabaci. In this paper, 25 field populations were collected from different locations in China, and 1,161 individuals were screened for the presence of Wolbachia using a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based method, which targets the wsp gene, to confirm Wolbachia infection status. The prevalence of Wolbachia ranged from 1.54 to 66.67% within the 25 field populations, and the infection frequency of Wolbachia was affected significantly by the putative species of B. tabaci. The infection frequency (51.55%) of Wolbachia was significantly greater in native species than in the MED (25.65%) and MEAM1 (14.37%). With the exception of host plant, all factors, including putative species, geographic location, and the sex of the host, affected the Wolbachia infection frequency in whiteflies. Six Wolbachia strains were found and clustered into four distinct clades upon phylogenetic analyses. Furthermore, Wolbachia in B. tabaci have close relationships with those from other host species, including Liriomyza trifolii (Burgess), Sogatella furcifera (Horvath), Nilaparvata lugens (Stål), and Culex pipiens L. The results demonstrated the variation and diversity of Wolbachia in B. tabaci field populations, and that the application of nested PCR extended our knowledge of Wolbachia infection in B. tabaci, especially in invasive whiteflies.
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