Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body yellow to brown, typically yellow with brown postoccipital ridge on head, brown markings medially on each tergite, and tergites VIII–X brown; fore wings pale but shaded along veins, major setae often dark. Antennae 7-segmented, VI large and bullet-shaped. Head with ocellar setae III arising inside ocellar triangle. Pronotal posteromarginal transverse apodeme usually stout, postero-angular setae short. Metanotum reticulate, but reticles without internal markings, median setae arise behind anterior margin, campaniform sensilla present. Fore wing with first vein setal row almost uninterrupted; clavus with 6 marginal setae. Abdominal tergite II with 4 lateral setae, VIII with marginal comb not developed medially. Sternites with 15–40 discal setae,3 pairs of marginal setae; pleurotergites with 6–10 discal setae.

Male macroptera similar to female in structure, but smaller and paler; tergite VIII with no comb; tergite IX with 4 setae close set in a transverse row; sternites III–VII with small transverse pore plate anterior to about 10 discal setae.

Related and similar species

There are 33 species of Thrips genus known from Australia, out of a total of 280 species worldwide (Mound & Masumoto, 2005). Many of these species have the antennae clearly 7-segmented, whereas others have 8 segments. Some species have two complete rows of setae on the fore wing veins, whereas others have the setal row on the first vein more or less widely interrupted. Moreover, some species have sternal discal setae, whereas other species have only marginal setae on the sternites. Despite this variation, all members of Thrips genus have paired ctenidia on the tergites, and on tergite VIII these are postero-mesad to the spiracles, and they also lack ocellar setae pair I in front of the first ocellus. In contrast, Frankliniella species have ctenidia on tergite VIII antero-lateral to the spiracles, and a pair of setae is always present in front of the first ocellus. T. australisis unusual in having six marginal setae on the clavus instead of five, but some members of this genus from Africa also have more than five such setae. The sixth antennal segment is unique in its shape, but there seems no support for placing this species in a separate monobasic genus Isoneurothrips. The larvae are essentially similar to those of other members of the genus Thrips (Vierbergen et al. 2010).

Distribution data

General distribution

Widespread around world in association with Eucalyptus plantings.

Australian distribution

Found widely across Australia.

Biological data

Life history

Feeding and breeding in flowers.

Host plants

Eucalyptus, particularly species with white flowers, Melaleuca spp. (Myrtaceae); adults disperse in large numbers to surrounding plants as Eucalyptus flowers die.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Thrips australis (Bagnall)

Original name and synonyms

  • Isoneurothrips australis Bagnall, 1915: 592
  • Thrips lacteicorpus Girault, 1926: 17
  • Thrips mediolineus Girault, 1926a: 18
  • Anomalothrips amygdali Morgan, 1929: 5


Mound LA & Masumoto M. 2005. The genus Thrips (Thysanoptera, Thripidae) in Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand. Zootaxa 1020: 1-64. http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2005f/zt01020p064.pdf

Hoddle MS, Mound LA & Paris D. 2008. Thrips of California. Cd-rom published by CBIT, Brisbane.

Oz thrips taxa