The temporal and spatial expression of tomato wound- and defense-response genes to Bemisia tabaci biotype B (the silverleaf whitefly) and Trialeurodes vaporariorum (the greenhouse whitefly) feeding were characterized. Both species of whiteflies evoked similar changes in tomato gene expression. The levels of RNAs for the methyl jasmonic acid (MeJA)- or ethylene-regulated genes that encode the basic β-1,3-glucanase (GluB), basic chitinase (Chi9), and Pathogenesis-related protein-1 (PR-1) were monitored. GluB and Chi9 RNAs were abundant in infested leaves from the time nymphs initiated feeding (day 5). In addition, GluB RNAs accumulated in apical non-infested leaves. PR-1 RNAs also accumulated after whitefly feeding. In contrast, the ethylene- and salicylic acid (SA)-regulated Chi3 and PR-4 genes had RNAs that accumulated at low levels and GluAC RNAs that were undetectable in whitefly-infested tomato leaves. The changes in Phenylalanine ammonia lyase5 (PAL5) were variable; in some, but not all infestations, PAL5 RNAs increased in response to whitefly feeding. PAL5 RNA levels increased in response to MeJA, ethylene, and abscisic acid, and declined in response to SA. Transcripts from the wound-response genes, leucine aminopeptidase (LapA1) and proteinase inhibitor 2 (pin2), were not detected following whitefly feeding. Furthermore, whitefly infestation of transgenic LapA1:GUS tomato plants showed that whitefly feeding did not activate the LapA1 promoter, although crushing of the leaf lamina increased GUS activity up to 40 fold. These studies indicate that tomato plants perceive B. tabaci and T. vaporariorum in a manner similar to baterical pathogens and distinct from tissue-damaging insects.