Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body dark brown when mature, teneral individuals with abdomen pale. Antennae 8-segmented, III–IV with stout simple sensorium; II prolonged on external margin with small terminal sensorium. Head small and projecting in front of eyes, vertex usually with 3 pairs of setae. Pronotum trapezoidal with 2 pairs of posteroangular setae slightly longer than posteromarginals. Fore coxae enlarged and transverse; fore femora swollen; fore tibia extending laterally along external margin of fore tarsus. Meso and metafurca weakly developed, mesofurcal pits widely separated; meta pre-episternum reduced to small triangle. Fore wing slender and acute at apex; first vein with 3 setae on distal half, second vein with 3–4 widely spaced setae. Tergites with many lines of sculpture medially, II–IV with transverse row of small tubercles along antecostal ridge, I–VIII with complete craspedum. Ovipositor weakly developed, without strong teeth. Sternites II–IV with sculpture forming pattern of tubercles medially; VIII with all 3 pairs of setae arising at margin.

Male aptera. Body yellow; sternites III–VII with large circular pore plate medially.

Related and similar species

Arorathrips is one of six genera created by Bhatti (1990) for some of the species treated by zur Strassen (1960) in the genus Chirothrips. Rather more than 12 species, all from the New World are considered to belong in the genus Arorathrips, but not all of these have the fore tibia prolonged around the fore tarsus as in A. mexicanus. However, all of them have the pterothoracic furcae very weakly developed without prominent lateral flanges, and the mesothoracic furcal pits wide apart.

Distribution data

General distribution

Originally Neotropical, but now wordwide in tropical and sub-tropical areas.

Australian distribution

Widepread from northern New South Wales across northern areas of Australia.

Biological data

Life history

Breeding and pupating within individual florets of Poaceae.

Host plants

Various Poaceae species with no recorded specificity.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Arorathrips mexicanus (Crawford DL)

Original name and synonyms

  • Chirothrips mexicanus Crawford DL, 1909: 114
  • Chirothrips floridensis Watson, 1920: 22
  • Chirothrips catchingsi Watson, 1924: 76
  • Chirothrips saltensis Tapia, 1952: 109


Mound LA & Palmer JM. 1972. Grass-flower infesting thrips of the genus Chirothrips Haliday in Australia. Journal of the Australian entomological Society 11: 332-339.

Oz thrips taxa