The whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), is a cryptic species complex that attacks >600 different species of plants and transmits several plant viruses causing severe economic losses. Until 2010, the B. tabaci complex comprised 24 distinct putative species. Recently, at least 15 new species have been reported. The objective of this study was to identify B. tabaci species present in bean, melon, and tomato crops in Argentina by applying phylogenetic analyses and pairwise comparison of genetic distances of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (mtCOI) sequences. The 39 proposed whitefly species were identified with both analyses, and the presence in Argentina of one indigenous species, New World 2 (NW2), and two introduced species, Middle East-Asia Minor one (MEAM1) and Mediterranean, was confirmed. Common bean crop presented the three whitefly species detected, with NW2, MEAM1, and Mediterranean being present all together under field conditions. Also, Mediterranean was the only species identified in tomato, whereas MEAM1 was found in melon. To the best of our knowledge, Mediterranean is a recent invasive species in open-field agriculture in the American continent and in greenhouse tomato in Argentina. Additionally, we provide the first report of MEAM1 in common bean and melon. These findings raise several questions on the future scenario of B. tabaci and the viruses it transmits in Argentina.
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Vol. 108 • No. 2