Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body light brown, tergites paler laterally, mesonotum pale on posterior half; antecostal ridges on tergites III–VIII dark across full width of segments, on sternites III–VII shaded full width of segments; fore wings uniformly deeply shaded; antennal segment I pale, II dark, segments III–V dark with base paler, VI–VIII uniformly dark. Head slightly wider than long, mouth cone long but projecting ventrally; vertex with transversely anastomosing striae, ocellar region reticulate; bases of ocellar setae pair III separated approximately by the length of these setae, arising anterior to tangent between anterior margins of posterior ocelli; two pairs of post-ocular setae approximately 0.75 as long as ocellar setae pair III. Pronotum with transverse striae irregular and widely separated; posteromarginal setae S2 about three times the length of S1, S3 subequal to S1. Metanotal reticulation almost equiangular, median setae on anterior margin. Fore wing clavus with 3–4 marginal setae; first vein setae 2–7+1–7+1–3+1+0–1+0-1; second vein 3–4 setae; posteromarginal fringe cilia wavy. Tergites III–V median setae long and widely spaced, distance between bases at least twice the length of these setae; tergal microtrichial fields with 3 discal setae; VII with posteromarginal comb extending mesad of discal seta II, usually complete medially; VIII with no discal microtrichia medially, posteromarginal comb complete; tergite IX with discal microtrichia scarcely visible. Sternal microtrichial fields weak, not extending mesad of setae S2.

Male macroptera. Similar in colour and sculpture to female, but smaller; tergite VII without posteromarginal microtrichia; abdominal segment IX with pair of dark drepanae with acute apices curving dorsally; parameres each with rounded knob on external margin near base, aedeagus without spines.

Related and similar species

The genus Scirtothrips comprises over 100 described species worldwide, with 21 species known from Australia most of which are endemics to this continent. These species all have the lateral thirds of the abdominal tergites covered in closely spaced rows of fine microtrichia, and in many species the sternites also bear similar microtrichia. The antennae are 8-segmented, except inS. casuarinae and S. solus, both forewing veins have an irregular and incomplete setal row, and a median spinula is present on both the meso and metafurca. S, litotes is unusual in the genus Scirtothrips in having the posteromarginal comb of microtrichia on tergite VII complete or almost complete, a character state that it shares only with S. helenae amongst the Australian species. Moreover, it has an unusually long mouth cone, although not as long as in the other Australian member of this genus that lives on cycads, S. tenor.

Distribution data

General distribution

Known only from Australia.

Australian distribution


Biological data

Life history

Presumably feeding and breeding on young fronds.

Host plants

Adults taken on Lepidozamia peroffskyana (Zamiaceae).

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Scirtothrips litotes Hoddle & Mound

Original name and synonyms

  • Scirtothrips litotes Hoddle & Mound, 2003: 24.


Hoddle MS & Mound LA. 2003. The genus Scirtothrips in Australia (Insecta, Thysanoptera, Thripidae). Zootaxa 268: 1-40. http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2003f/zt00268.pdf

Oz thrips taxa