Biology

Lifecycle

Whiteflies have a strange life cycle that involves spending almost their entire lives in a sessile (immobile) state. 

First-stage nymphs - termed "crawlers"
  • hatch from eggs  
  • can walk short distances 
  • or are carried by air currents

Once the crawler has selected a feeding site under a suitable leaf it undergoes its first moult.

Second, third and fourth immature stages 
  • do not have functioning legs and simply 
  • feed on the plant host’s phloem sap - if the plant dies, so do they.
  • secrete white, waxy, material as pretty filaments and curls - the final nymphal stage resembling some sort of exotic confectionary.
Adult whiteflies
  • emerge from their unlikely-looking “puparia” 
  • just a couple of millimetres from wing-tip to wing-tip
  • disperse by flying
  • can mate