Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body yellow, antennal segments VII-VIII and distal half of VI brown; fore wings pale. Antennae 8-segmented; III-IV with forked sensorium; VIII almost twice as long as VII. Head wider than long; with 3 pairs of ocellar setae, pair III longer than anterior margins of ocellar triangle and arising just within these margins; postocular setae pair I present, pair IV as long as distance between hind ocelli. Pronotum with 5 pairs of major setae; anteromarginal setae almost as long as anteroangulars, one pair of minor setae present medially between posteromarginal submedian setae. Metanotum with 2 pairs of setae at anterior margin, campaniform sensilla present. Fore wing with 2 complete rows of veinal setae. Tergites V-VIII with pair of lateral ctenidia, on VIII anterolateral to spiracle; posteromarginal comb on VIII with long, regular, microtrichia. Sternites III-VII without discal setae, except sternite II with 1-2 long discal setae medially.

Male macroptera. Similar to female but smaller; tergite VIII with complete comb; sternites III-VII with small oval pore plate; sternite II with 1-2 discal setae medially; sternite VII with toothed craspedum on posterior margin.

Related and similar species

Frankliniella species all have a pair of setae in front of the first ocellus, a complete row of setae on both veins of the forewing, and a pair of ctenidia on tergite VIII situated anterolateral to the spiracles. Most of the 180 described species are known only from the neotropics, but F. schultzeiF. occidentalis and F. williamsi have been widely introduced around the world (Kirk & Terry, 2003). F. williamsi is similar in structure to the South American species F. gossypiana, but has longer setae on tergite IX, and longer antennae. These two species are unusual in almost always having one or two discal setae on the second abdominal sternite.

Distribution data

General distribution

Widespread in tropical areas.

Australian distribution

Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria.

Biological data

Life History

Breeds on leaves, particularly in leaf axils.

Host plants

Zea mays and possibly other Poaceae including Saccharum; a minor pest on maize

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Frankliniella williamsi Hood

Original name and synonyms

  • Frankliniella williamsi Hood, 1915: 19
  • Frankliniella flavens Moulton, 1928: 108
  • Frankliniella spinosa Moulton, 1936: 61


Mound LA & Marullo R. 1996. The Thrips of Central and South America: An Introduction. Memoirs on Entomology, International 6: 1-488.

Oz thrips taxa