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Cucurbits

Identifying Whiteflies

Proper identification of whitefly species in cucurbits is important because only silverleaf whitefly, and occasionally, greenhouse whitefly, represent the greatest damage potential to cucurbits.

You can distinguish whiteflies by examining fourth-instar nymphs (called pupae) with a hand lens. Use the photos below to help you with your identification.

Click on photos to enlarge
Silverleaf whitefly
Silverleaf whitefly pupae
Nymphs are convex or rounded in profile. From above they are oval, whitish, soft, and unlike 4th instar greenhouse whitefly nymphs do not have filaments.
Silverleaf whitefly
Silverleaf whitefly adult
Adults hold their wings rooflike over their bodies. The wings do not meet in the back as they do in greenhouse whitefly adults, but have a slight space between them.
Greenhouse whitefly
Greenhouse whitefly with nymphs
Nymphs are elevated in profile with edges perpendicular like a cake or hat box. They have many long waxy filaments around the edge of their bodies.
Greenhouse whitefly
Greenhouse whitefly adult
Adults are very similar in appearance to silverleaf whitefly adults, but hold their wings flatter over the back with no space between the wings where they meet in the center.
Late-instar nymphs (
Iris whitefly nymph
Have short, dense, waxy filaments around the edges.
Adult iris whitefly.
Iris whitefly adult
Iris whitefly adults hold their wings flat over their backs and have a dot on each wing.

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