Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macropterous. Body brown, abdomen paler medially in newly emerged individuals; femora brown, mid and hind tibiae and tarsi clear yellow; antennal segments III–IV yellow with extreme apex brown, V–IX brown; fore wing brown at extreme apex and base, with long median brown area and two clear transverse bands; costal vein pale around distal pale area.

Head with postocular region as long as eye length; distal maxillary palp segment subdivided. Antennae 9-segmented, III–IV with sensorium broad, extending to basal half or basal third of segment, without internal markings; V–VIII with sensorium base elongate. Mesonotum with only 1 or 2 pairs of accessory setae medially. Metanotal reticles transverse to almost concentric at anterior, small and almost longitudinal medially, with internal dot-like markings. Abdominal tergite I with faint transverse lines medially; trichobothria on X no larger than base of major setae on X. Sternal chaetotaxy irregular, usually with 4 pairs of marginal setae and 0 to 4 pairs of discal setae laterally but none medially.

Male similar to female but smaller, pronotum and fore femora more yellow; antennal segment IV more extensively brown. Abdominal tergite I with two longitudinal ridges. Sternal marginal setae arising submarginally, at least laterally; sternite IX with no discal setae.

Related and similar species

The genus Desmothrips is known only from Australia, with 18 described species (Pereyra & Mound, 2010). D. aliceae is particularly unusual because the tibiae and tarsi are clear yellow in contrast to the brown femora.

Distribution data

General distribution

Known  only from Australia

Australian distribution

Described from Wee Jasper, just West of Canberra, but possibly widespread across drier parts of Australia. A few specimens from near Kununurra in the north of Western Australia were identified tentatively as this species.

Biological data

Host plants

Breeding in the flowers of Brachychiton populneus (Sterculiaceae).

Life history

Adults of both sexes were found with a few larvae only in the flowers of their host-plant trees that were growing on an area of limestone platform at Wee Jasper, near Canberra. Other flowering plants in the vicinity supported different species of Desmothrips. The  Brachychiton flowers also contained large numbers of Thrips imaginis, on which D. aliceae was presumably predatory.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Desmothrips aliceae Pereyra & Mound

Original name and synonyms

Desmothrips aliceae Pereyra & Mound, 2010

Oz thrips taxa