Giant Whitefly
Aleurodicus dugesii

The giant whitefly is a very small, white, moth like insect.  With a length of 4 mm it is giant only compared to other species of whitefly.  It is native to Mexico.  The giant whitefly invaded Southern California in the 1990's. Its main target was Hibiscus sp. When the local Hibiscus were heavily infested, the giant whiteflies moved on to nearby plants of many species.

Giant Whitefly, Aleurodicus dugesiiHere is a size cue to just how "giant" a giant whitefly is.  Remember that words like giant, large, small,   are comparative terms.  Compared to other whiteflies, this species is very large.

Giant Whitefly, Aleurodicus dugesiiHere is an egg spiral on the under side of a leaf.  The adult lays down a trail of wax as she walks along and lays eggs.

Giant Whitefly, Aleurodicus dugesiiGiant white fly larvae on the underside of hibiscus leaves. The larvae produce long, fine threads of waxy material hanging from the leaves. This presumably protects them from predators.

Giant Whitefly, Aleurodicus dugesiiThe waxy excretions of giant white fly larvae form thick mats under the leaves.

Giant Whitefly, Aleurodicus dugesiiThe waxy filaments produced by giant white fly larvaemay be more than 5 cm long, giving the leaf quite a beard. Eventually the hibiscus bush may look like it has been decorated with Halloween cobwebs.  And bits of white thread drift through the air.

[Taxonomy : Classification ]
[Insects ]  [Back Yard Biology] [Science Can BeFun