Tetraleurodes acaciae

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   University of Guam
   Cooperative Extension Service
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   Pest Fact Sheet Series
Immatures on Leucaena leucocephala leaves; image by A. Moore; 16 June 2007; Two Lover's Point, Guam
Close-up of immatures on Leucaena leucocephala leaves; image by A. Moore; 16 June 2007; Two Lover's Point, Guam
Adult with eggs and immatures on Leucaena leucocephala leaves; image by A. Moore; 16 June 2007; Two Lover's Point, Guam
Defoliation from whitefly infestation at Two Lover's Point, Guam; 16 June 2007
Defoliation from whitefly infestation at Two Lover's Point, Guam; 5 July 2007
Acacia whitefly attacked by fungus?; UOG Campus, Guam; 26 July 2006; Image by A. Moore

Prepared by Aubrey Moore.

Common Name(s)

Acacia whitefly


  • Order: Hemiptera
    • Family: Aleyrodidae (whiteflies)
      • Species: Tetraleurodes acaciae (Quaintance 1914)
        • Synonym: Aleyrodes acaciae Quaintance 1900


The acacia whitefly, Trialeurodes acaciae, (Quaintance) was found at Two Lover's Point on Guam by Dr. Aubrey Moore, University of Guam Extension Entomologist, on June 16, 2007. Dr. Moore was investigating a report of "small white flies bothering tourists" at the Two Lover's Point lookout. It was discovered that these insects were whiteflies emerging from a severe infestation on nearby tangan-tangan, Leucaena leucocephala. Species identification was comfirmed by Dr. Gregory A. Evans, National Whitefly Identifier of USDA-APHIS-PPQ based on specimens of immatures which were sent to him. A delimiting survey of Guam on June 19 and 20, 2007 found that the acacia whitefly had infested most stands of L. leucocephala throughout the island. It has also been found on Gliricidia sepium and the endangered endemic tree, Serianthes nelsonii.

There is one previous record for T. acaciae on Guam. De Barro (1997) reported finding immatures of this species on papaya, Carica papaya.

Heavy infestation of tangan-tangan by the acacia whitefly is currently causing defoliation in the Two Lover's Point area. The probable extent and secondary affects of widespread tangan-tangan defoliation on Guam is unknown. A similar situation occurred in the 1980s after arrival of the tangan-tangan psyllid, Heteropsylla cubana. At that time there were concerns about increased erosion and subsequent fowling of reefs.


The infestation on Guam seemed to be diminished following a storm and two weeks of wet weather in July 2007. Villacarlos et al. 2003 reported that the acacia whitefly was controlled by naturally occurring entomopathogenic fungus after it arrived in the Philippines. We found some pupae covered with fungus following the wet weather (see image), so it is possible that naturally occurring fungus on Guam will control the acacia whitefly infestation during periods of wet weather.

Geographical Distribution

T. acaciae is a native of California and Mexico (Hoddle 2006).

The Whitefly Ecology Database lists records from USA (AZ, CA, FL, TX), Mexico, Philippines, Hong Kong, Cuba, Belize, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, Venezuela, British West Indies, Colombia.

In addition T. acaciae was also reported from Guam (De Barro 1997).

Host Plants

Major host plants for the Acacia whitely are in Fabaceae, but this species has been reported from many plant genera including Acacia, Aeschynomene, Albizia, Amorpha, Bauhinia, Bignonia, Bensera, Bolusanthus, Bougainvillea, Brya, Bursera, Caesalpinia, Calliandra, Capsicum, Cassia, Centrosema, Ceratonia, Cercis, Chamaecrista, Chamaedorea, Chamaesyce, Citrus, Cladrastis, Cnidoscolus, Cotoneaster, Coursetia, Cytisus, Dalbergia, Desmodium, Diphysa, Eryngium, Erythrina, Ficus, Galactia, Gliricidia, Glycine, Gymnocladus, Hardenbergia, Indigofera, Inga, Jatropha, Kennedia, Leucaena, Lonchocarpus, Maackia, Melaleuca, Melicoccus, Millettia, Mimosa, Morus, Musa, Myrica, Olneya, Pachira, Pachyrhizus, Parietaria, Parkia, Pelargonium, Phaseolus, Piscidia, Pithecellobium, Pongamia, Populus, Prosopis, Pseudobombax, Rhamnus, Rhus, Robinia, Rosa, Senna, Sophora, Spondias, Symplocarpus, Tamarindus, Templetonia, Tephrosia and Wisteria (Whitefly Ecology Database). Genera shown in bold face occur on Guam.

In addition T. acaciae was also reported from papaya, Carica papaya, on Guam (De Barro 1997).

T. acaciae was found on leaves of Serianthes nelsonii on Guam in July 2007 (Moore & Bourgeois, unpublished observation). This is a new host record.


Thanks to Dr. Russell Campbell for sending specimens for identification, to Dr. Gregory Evans for species determination, to Belmina Soliva of the Guam Dept. of Ag. for helping with the delimiting survey, and to Phoebe Wall for determining which host plant genera occur on Guam.


  • Brown, Judith K. 2007. University of Arizona Whitefly Database http://whitefly.biosci.arizona.edu/species/tetra_acac/index.htm
  • De Barro, P. 1997. Survey of Bemesia tabaci Biotype B whitefly (also known as B. argentifolii) and its natural enemies in the South Pacific. Final Report, ACIAR Project No. 96/148. CSIRO Entomology, Canberra. 22 pages. DOC
  • Dowell, R. V. 1982. Biology of Tetraleurodes acaciae (Quaintance) (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae). Pan-Pac. Entomol. 58:321-318.
  • Hoddle, Mark S. 2006. Phenology, life tables, and reproductive biology of Tetraleurodes perseae (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) on California avocados. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 99(3): p. 553-559. PDF
  • Martin, J. 2003. An inventory of whiteflies in Belize: what relevance for EWSN? EWSN Newsletter 15. Available at http://www.whitefly.org/WhitefliesInBelize.htm Accessed June 16, 2007.
  • Rose, M. & G. Zolnerowich 2003. Eretmocerus picketti new species (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea: Aphelinidae), reared from Tetraleurodes acaciae (Quaintance) (Homoptera: Aleyrodidae: Aleyrodinae). Pan-Pacific Entomologist 79:2 p.119-127.
  • Villacarlos, L. T., B. S. Mejia & S. Keller 2003. Entomophthora leyteensis Villacarlos & Keller sp. nov. (Entomophthorales: Zygomycetes) infecting Tetraleurodes acaciae (Quaintance) (Insecta, Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae), a recently introduced whitefly on Gliricidia sepium (Jaq.) Walp. (Fabaceae) in the Philippines. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 83:1 pp. 16-22.
  • Whitefly Ecology Database http://www.sel.barc.usda.gov:591/1WF/WFecology/FMPro?-db=1WF-ecology.FP5&-lay=Layout%20%231&-format=search.htm&-view Accessed July 16, 2007.

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