Whiteflies are weird


(10 March 2017) White-flies are tiny insects with wingspans of 3-5mm. Everything is strange with these little things. Males reproduce with parthenogenesis… they essentially copy themselves, making only male offspring. Females on the other hand, mate with their own male offspring and produce boys and girls.
The newly-born is called an instar and has legs. After a while it pierces its mouth into the plant leaf and leaves it there, looses its legs and looks from now on like a flat, white ellipse; essentially it has become a pupa. It grows relatively large bristles and waxy filaments; in the photo we see clusters of these pupas, with the filaments sticking out. The role of the filaments could be protection against predators, or against honeydew, which is produced by adult white-flies in the reproductive process.
After a week, out of this mess the tiny mature flies arise, as phoenixes from the ashes. They will live for 3-5 weeks.

Spiraling white-fly

The coconut white-fly, shown in the main picture, is native, but its cousin, the spiraling white-fly, is an imported pest, leading to worldwide economic losses estimated at hundreds of millions of dollars annually. In the photo, from Palm Grove NP, we see one tiny fly walking over the spiral it has produced in the reproductive process.

Technique
The photo was taken at night, with artificial torch light, in Knoll National Park. The 60 mm macro lens is great, but despite enough distance it still is not that easy to get all relevant parts in focus. I used f/8 to increase depth of field, leading to 1/20 sec. on ISO 200.