Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body brown; tarsi, apices of mid and hind tibiae, also most of fore tibiae yellow; antennal segment III yellow to light brown; hind tibiae with 2 stout dark apical setae; fore wings brown with basal quarter pale and an extensive pale area sub-apically. Antennae 8-segmented, III–IV with constricted apical neck, sensorium forked. Head as wide as long; 3 pairs of ocellar setae present, pair III on anterior margins of ocellar triangle and longer than distance between compound eyes; postocular setae small. Pronotum with 2 pairs of long posteroangular setae, posterior margin with 3 pairs of setae; anteroangular setae well-developed. Metanotum with weak sculpture; campaniform sensilla present, median setae arise at anterior margin. Mesofurca with spinula. Fore wing first vein with long row of setae before distinct subapical gap followed by 2 setae; second vein with complete row of setae. Tergites without sculpture medially, ctenidia absent; tergite VIII with irregular group of microtrichia anteromesad of spiracle, posteromarginal comb of slender microtrichia but broadly absent medially. Sternites without discal setae; median pair of marginal setae on sternite VII arise in front of margin.

Male macroptera. Similar to female but smaller and paler, legs sometimes almost yellow; tergite IX posterior margin without paired setiform processes, posterolaterally with pair of short very stout setae; sternites without pore plates.

Related and similar species

Twelve species are currently listed in Megalurothrips, all from Old World areas between Africa, China and the Pacific. However, the validity of some of these species is open to doubt, including some of those most recently described. M. usitatus is the most common and widespread member of the genus through the Oriental Region to the Pacific, and is common in northern Australia. Females can be difficult to distinguish from several other named species (Palmer, 1987).

Distribution data

General distribution

Widespread in Oriental Region from India to Japan, also Fiji and Australia.

Australian distribution

Found across northern Australia, from Western Australia to Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Biological data

Life history

Feeding and breeding in flowers.

Host plants

Various Fabaceae, including crops such as Glycine, Arachis, Vigna. Members of Megalurothrips are commonly associated with damage to bean crops through feeding in the flowers.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Megalurothrips usitatus (Bagnall)

Original name and synonyms

  • Frankliniella nigricornis Schmutz, 1913: 1020
  • Frankliniella obscuricornis Schmutz, 1913: 1022
  • Frankliniella vitata Schmutz, 1913: 1023
  • Physothrips usitatus Bagnall, 1913: 293
  • Physothrips cinctipennis Bagnall, 1916: 217
  • Physothrips mjobergi Karny, 1920: 37
  • Taeniothrips longistylus Karny, 1922: 99


Palmer JM. 1987. Megalurothrips in the flowers of tropical legumes: a morphometric study. In Holman J, Pelikan J, Dixon AFG & Weismann L. [eds] Population structure, genetics and taxonomy of aphids and Thysanoptera. The Hague (SPB Academic Publishing): 480-495.

Oz thrips taxa