Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body brown, fore tibiae, tarsi and antennal segment III paler; fore wings brown. Antennae 7-segmented, III–IV with small, usually forked, sensorium. Head wider than long, only 2 pairs of ocellar setae present, pair III very short and anterolateral to ocellar triangle; postocular setae small. Pronotum wider at posterior than anterior margin, with 2 pairs of short posteroangular setae, posterior margin with 5 pairs of setae; prosternal basantra with several setae. Metanotum with linear sculpture forming lens-like shape; campaniform sensilla present, median setae arise behind anterior margin. Mesofurca with spinula. Fore wing first vein with 3 setae on distal half, second vein with about 7 setae; clavus with 5 marginal setae. Tergites with sculpture lines medially on anterior half but not on posterior half; campaniform sensilla posterior to median setae; paired ctenidia present on tergites V–VIII, on VIII posteromesad to spiracle; tergite posterior margins with craspedum of triangular lobes, comb on VIII with slender microtrichia arising from broad bases. Sternites without craspeda, with double row of discal setae.

Male macroptera or microptera. Similar to female but smaller and paler; tergite VIII posterior margin with craspedum of triangular lobes similar to preceding segments; sternites with craspeda of triangular lobes, III–VII with small circular pore plate.

Related and similar species

There is only one species in the genus Microcephalothrips, and this shares many character states with the species of Thrips genus, in particular the abdominal ctenidia that are posteromesad to the spiracles on tergite VIII. However, the prosternum bears several setae, unlike any species of Thrips, and there is a distinctive lobed craspedum on the abdominal tergites.

Distribution data

General distribution

Known from tropical and subtropical areas around the world.

Australian distribution

Northern Territory, Queensland, Tasmania, Victoria, Western Australia.

Biological data

Life History

Breeding in flowers

Host plants

Various Asteraceae, sometimes large populations in Helianthus sunflowers.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Microcephalothrips abdominalis (Crawford DL)

Original name and synonyms

  • Thrips abdominalis Crawford DL, 1910: 157
  • Thrips femoralis Jones, 1912: 4
  • Thrips crenatus Watson, 1922: 35
  • Thrips microcephalus Priesner, 1923: 116
  • Thrips (Ctenothripiella) gillettei Moulton, 1926: 126
  • Thrips oklahomae Watson, 1931: 342
  • Microcephalothrips armatus Ananthakrishnan, 1956: 133
  • Aureothrips marigoldae Raizada, 1966: 278
  • Stylothrips brevipalpis Karny, 1927: 206
  • Paraphysopus burnsi Girault. 1927: 2
  • Microcephalothrips chinensis Feng, Nan & Guo, 1998: 257
  • Microcephalothrips jigongshanensis Feng, Nan & Guo, 1998: 258


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

Oz thrips taxa