Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body colour variable, sometimes yellow, frequently bicoloured with abdomen brown and head and thorax paler; antennal segments I, III and base of IV yellow; legs yellow; fore wings pale. Antennae 7-segmented. Head transverse, ocellar setae III arise within or on the margins of the triangle close to first ocellus. Pronotum with 4–5 posteromarginal setae, external postero-angular seta shorter than inner seta. Metanotum irregularly reticulate medially, median setae well behind anterior margin, campaniform sensilla present. Fore wing first vein with 3 or 4 setae on distal half. Abdominal tergite II with 3 lateral setae; tergite VIII comb represented by a few teeth laterally. Sternites III–VII with 15–25 discal setae, pleurotergites with 1–3 discal setae.

Male macroptera. Body yellow; pleurotergites without discal setae; tergite VIII with no comb, IX with 4 setae arranged in transverse row.

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. imaginis is sister-species to T. safrus, and these appear to be closely related to T. unispinus and possibly also to T. australis, although molecular data are needed in order to confirm the available morphological evidence.

Distribution data

General distribution

Australia, New Caledonia, New Zealand.

Australian distribution

Tasmania, and Southern Australia as far north as Brisbane.

Biological data

Life history

Feeding and breeding in flowers.

Host plants

Polyphagous, in flowers of many unrelated native and introduced plant species; considered a serious pest of pome fruits in the 1930’s, but usually not of great significance in recent years.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Thrips imaginis Bagnall

Original name and synonyms

  • Thrips imaginis Bagnall, 1926: 111
  • Thrips imaginis apicalis Bagnall, 1926: 111
  • Thrips fortis Bagnall, 1926: 109
  • Thrips shakespearei Girault, 1927: 1
  • Neophysopus io Girault, 1927: 1
  • Neophysopus aureolus Girault, 1928: 3
  • Aptinothrips apertus Kelly & Mayne, 1934: 33


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

Oz thrips taxa