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.
Here 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.
Here 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 white fly
larvae on the
hibiscus leaves. The larvae produce long, fine threads of waxy
material hanging from the leaves. This presumably protects them from
excretions of giant
white fly larvae form thick mats under the leaves.
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.