Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body and legs brownish yellow, brown markings on pronotum, laterally on mesonotum and metascutum, medially on tergites; antennal segment I yellow, II–IV yellowish brown, V–IX darker brown; fore wings pale, veins weakly shaded; tergites IX–X with dark setae. Head longer than wide, produced in front of eyes; eyes with 6 pigmented facets; ocellar setae III outside ocellar triangle, anterior to hind ocelli; head with sculpture behind eyes, but not near ocelli. Antennae 9-segmented, II without microtrichia, III–IV with sensorium forked, VI–VII broadly joined by oblique suture; VI with pedicel. Pronotum weakly sculptured medially; with no long setae. Metascutum reticulate, median setae well behind anterior margin; campaniform sensilla present. Fore wing first vein with about 7 setae near base, 3–4 widely spaced setae on distal half; second vein with about 9 setae, with no setae basal to vein fork; clavus with 5–6 veinal setae and one seta at base. Abdominal tergites with small dentate microtrichia on sculpture lines laterally; II–VII with sculpture medially (rarely very weak), small dentate microtrichia on posterior margin laterally; VIII with posteromarginal comb complete; spiracles occupying no more than 0.3 of lateral margin of tergite VIII.

Female microptera. Similar to macroptera, wing lobe shorter than thorax width.

Male macroptera. Similar to female; tergite IX with 2 pairs of stout setae medially; sternites with C-shaped pore plates varying in size.

Larva II. Tergal dorsal setae capitate, but not broadly expanded; tergite IX faintly shaded at posterior margin with row of small pointed tubercles; X weakly shaded around bases of setae.

Related and similar species

There are 43 species of Anaphothrips known from Australia, out of a total of 79 species worldwide (Mound & Masumoto, 2009). Many of these species have the antennae clearly 9-segmented, others clearly have only 8 segments, but several species have an intermediate condition with segment VI bearing a partial and often oblique transverse suture as in A. obscurus. The abdominal tergitesof females usually bear distinct reticulate markings medially that can be difficult to see on some pale specimens. In contrast to most of Australian Anaphothrips species the second vein of the fore wing does not bear any setae basal to the vein fork. Although females are found worldwide, the male of A. obscurus is known only from Iran.

Distribution data

General distribution

Worldwide in temperate areas.

Australian distribution

Southern Australia.

Biological data

Life history

Feeding and breeding on leaves, commonly in leaf axils.

Host plants

Grasses (Poaceae); sometimes considered a minor pest on various cereal crops, AvenaHordeumSecaleTriticum and Zea.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Anaphothrips obscurus (Müller)

Original name and synonyms

  • Thrips obscurus Müller, 1776: 96
  • Limothrips poaphagus Comstock, 1875: 120
  • Thrips striata Osborn, 1883: 155
  • Anaphothrips virgo Uzel, 1895: 148
  • Anaphothrips collaris Priesner, 1926: 185
  • Anaphothrips grisea Priesner, 1926: 185
  • Anaphothrips sexguttus Girault, 1928: 1
  • Anaphothrips discrepans Bagnall, 1933: 651


Mound LA & Masumoto M. 2009. Australian Thripinae of the Anaphothrips genus-group (Thysanoptera), with three new genera and thirty-three new species. Zootaxa 2042: 1-76.http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2009/f/zt02042p076.pdf

Oz thrips taxa