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Species Page

Aleurotrachelus socialis
This information is part of a full datasheet available in the Crop Protection Compendium (CPC). Find out more information on how to access the CPC.
©CAB International. Published under a CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 licence.


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Host plants / species affected

Main hosts

show all species affected
Manihot esculenta (cassava)

List of symptoms / signs

Leaves - abnormal colours
Leaves - abnormal forms
Leaves - abnormal leaf fall
Leaves - honeydew or sooty mould
Leaves - necrotic areas
Leaves - yellowed or dead
Whole plant - dwarfing


Typical damage due to A. socialis consists of the curling of apical leaves, yellowing and necrosis of basal leaves, and retardation of plant growth.

Prevention and control

Chemical Control

Due to the variable regulations around (de-)registration of pesticides, we are for the moment not including any specific chemical control recommendations. For further information, we recommend you visit the following resources:


A. socialis is the most damaging whitefly species on cassava in northern South America, particularly in Colombia. A second species, Trialeurodes variabilis (papaya whitefly), also causes damage during outbreaks in Colombia, but A. socialis typically accounts for 80% of whiteflies on infested cassava (Gold et al., 1991). The two species can reduce yields by 60-80% (Bellotti et al., 1983). These considerable yield losses during whitefly population outbreaks are due to direct feeding damage, honeydew production and sooty mould growth, and the spread of plant pathogenic viruses.

A. socialis extracts sap from the phloem of the leaves, causing leaf yellowing, chlorosis, curling, necrosis and abscission. Direct feeding acts in concert with the secretion of honeydew and subsequent sooty mould growth to reduce photosynthetic efficiency and reduce root yield. Cassava root yield can be reduced by 4 to 79% dependent on the duration of attack (Bellotti, 2002). Cassava has a long growing season of up to 18 months and is relatively tolerant of pest damage. It can recover from sporadic leaf destruction, but persistent whitefly attack prevents foliage recovery. Populations of A. socialis are highest during the rainy season, but they are present throughout the crop cycle. Whiteflies can therefore infest cassava for long periods in the field (e.g. 3-6 months), thereby causing considerable yield loss. Studies have shown a correlation between the duration of attack by A. socialis and yield loss in cassava. Infestations of 1, 6 and 11 months resulted in root yield losses of 5, 42 and 76%, respectively (Vargas and Bellotti, 1981; Bellotti et al., 1999).

Yield depression of cassava due to whitefly, primarily A. socialis, in the absence of insecticides in a Colombian study was less than 10% in resistant hybrids (crosses between M Bra 12 and M Ecu 72), compared with up to 33% in susceptible cultivars (Bellotti and Vargas, 1991).

A. socialis is a minor vector of African cassava mosaic virus. Collections of whitefly from virus-infested plants in Colombia have also confirmed that A. socialis transmits Cassava virus X, which is responsible for 'frog skin' disease of cassava (Angel et al., 1987, 1989). Yield losses due to African mosaic disease in Africa and Asia, where other species of whitefly are vectors, can be up to 90% (Cock, 1985). Its emergence as a minor disease problem in Latin America is more recent.