Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body bicoloured, generally dark brown with abdominal segments III–V (or VI) yellow, colour pattern variable; legs yellow; antennal segments I–II brown (sometimes yellow), III–IV yellow, V–VIII brown; fore wings pale with dark sub-basal band. Head slightly longer than wide, projecting very slightly in front of eyes; eyes with 6 pigmented facets; ocellar setae III outside triangle, just anterior to hind ocelli. Antennae 8-segmented, III–IV with short forked sensorium, II without microtrichia, IV–VI pedicellate. Pronotum weakly sculptured. Metascutum irregularly reticulate, median setae far back from anterior margin; campaniform sensilla present or absent. Fore wing first vein with about 6 setae on basal half, 1 seta medially and 2 distally; second vein with about 8 setae, sometimes with one seta just basal to vein fork; clavus with about 4–5 veinal setae and one seta at base. Abdominal tergites often with small dentate microtrichia on sculpture lines laterally, sculpture not extending mesad of setae S2, dentate microtrichia laterally on posterior margin; VIII with posteromarginal comb complete, microtrichia broad at base.

Female microptera. Similar to macroptera but ocelli small or absent; fore wing lobe almost as long as head width.

Male microptera. Similar to female, but pterothorax yellow (in Australia); ocelli absent; tergites VI–VII sometimes with irregular dentate microtrichia on posterior margin medially, VIII with comb sometimes reduced to broadly based teeth, IX with 2 pairs of stout setae medially; sternites III–VIII with large C-shaped pore plate.

Female aptera. Closely similar to microptera except yellow with abdominal segments VIII–X dark brown; mesonotum and metascutum transverse; abdominal tergites weakly reticulate medially; tergites VI–VII setae S3 and S4 shorter than S1 and S2; tergite VIII posterior margin with large triangular teeth laterally and small teeth medially; spiracular area large.

Male aptera. Similar to male microptera but yellow, meso- and metathorax transverse.

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 as in A. sudanensis, but several species have an intermediate condition with segment VI bearing a partial and often oblique transverse suture as in A. obscurus. Although a typical grass-living species of Anaphothrips, this species is distinctive in being sharply bicoloured.

Distribution data

General distribution

Worldwide in tropical and subtropical areas.

Australian distribution

Widespread in Australia.

Biological data

Life history

Feeding on leaves.

Host plants

Various Poaceae; a minor pest at times on various cereal crops.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Anaphothrips sudanensis Trybom

Original name and synonyms

  • Anaphothrips sudanensis Trybom, 1911: 1
  • Anaphothrips speciosus Hood, 1919: 76
  • Anaphothrips brachyptera Priesner, 1935: 355
  • Anaphothrips bicolor Morgan, 1925: 4
  • Anaphothrips bicinctus Hood, 1925: 50
  • Anaphothrips (Neophysopuspiercei Moulton, 1936: 265


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