In this study, we investigated patterns of egg production and inclusion of bacterial endosymbionts in the whitefly Bemisia aff. gigantea Martin, a species native to lowland tropical rain forests of North Queensland, Australia. Development of the female reproductive system of B. aff. gigantea becomes evident in fourth instar/pharate adults, with extensive accumulation of mature (chorionated) eggs occurring 1–2 d before adult eclosion. Evidence from light and electron microscopy indicates that bacteriocytes (specialized cells containing bacterial endosymbionts) appear scattered through the abdominal region in close association with the developing eggs. In pharate adults, bacteriocytes seem to enter developing eggs basally through the pedicel, and after oviposition they move distally from the pedicel as the embryo matures. In addition, developing ova without bacteriocytes were evident in 3-d-old females, indicating that oogenesis and bacteriocyte inclusion is an ongoing process.
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Vol. 100 • No. 5