Effects of plant virus and its insect vector on Encarsia formosa, a biocontrol agent of whiteflies

Xiaoyuan Liu, Wensheng Xiang, Xiaoguo Jiao, Youjun Zhang, Wen Xie, Qingjun Wu, Xuguo Zhou, Shaoli Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


In this study, we investigated the tritrophic interactions among a persistently transmitted plant virus, Tomato yellow leaf curl virus (TYLCV), its insect vector, the sweetpotato whitefly Bemisia tabaci, and a parasitoid, Encarsia formosa Gahan, one of the most extensively used biological control agents. As an emerging invasive pest worldwide, the two most damaging whiteflies are B. tabaci B and Q cryptic species. On healthy tomato plants, parasitoid-induced mortality was significantly higher in B. tabaci B than in Q. In contrast, similar mortality levels of B and Q were observed on TYLCV-infected plants. A higher rate of parasitism was consistently observed in B, independent of the TYLCV infection. Similarly, the life history traits of E. formosa were influenced by both TYLCV and the two cryptic species of B. tabaci. Specifically, E. formosa parasitizing B had a greater adult longevity and shorter developmental time on healthy plants, whereas the parasitoids developing from Q has a greater adult longevity on TYLCV-infected plants. The emergence rate of E. formosa was unaffected by either B. tabaci cryptic species or the virus. These results suggest that the vector-borne pathogen can manipulate the host suitability of a parasitoid and hence the parasitoid-host interactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5926
JournalScientific Reports
StatePublished - Aug 6 2014

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Special thanks go to John J. Obrycki (University of Kentucky) for his comments and English editing. This research was supported by the 973 Program (2013CB127602), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (31171857), the China Agriculture Research System (CARS-26-10), and the Beijing Key Laboratory for Pest Control and Sustainable Control. The granting agencies had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or manuscript preparation.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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