Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macropterous or micropterous. Body and legs largely yellow, light brown shadings on thorax and medially on tergites I–VI; major setae brown; antennal segment I yellow, II light brown, III–VII brown; fore wings pale with very faint shading on clavus and at veinal fork. Antennae 7-segmented. Head with ocellar setae pair III stout, arising lateral to first ocellus; postocular setae I slightly longer than III, setae II minute. Pronotum with weak transverse lines of sculpture, 16–20 discal setae all relatively long, also anteromarginal, antero-angular, midlateral and posteromarginal setae S1 unusually long and dark. Mesonotum with campaniform sensilla present or absent. Metanotum with irregular reticulation; median setae arising behind anterior margin, campaniform sensilla present or absent. Fore wing first vein (when present) with 3 setae on distal half, wings variably reduced in length, sometimes no longer than width of pterothorax. Tergite II with 3 lateral marginal setae; tergites II–VII with lines of sculpture between median setal pair, these setae variable in length but usually more than half as long as their tergite; tergite VIII with complete comb of slender microtrichia. Sternites and pleurotergites without discal setae, pleurotergal sculpture lines without microtrichia.

Male. Similar to female but smaller; sternites III–VII with transverse pore plate.

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. Females of T. nigropilosus have the median two pairs of setae on the tergites much longer than in other species in this genus, and the pronotal anteromarginal and midlateral setae are also exceptionally long.

Distribution data

General distribution

Widespread in temperate areas, including montane parts of Africa; New Zealand, Australia.

Australian distribution

Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland.

Biological data

Life history

Feeding and breeding on young leaves and in flowers.

Host plants

Polyphagous, AchilleaChrysanthemumLactuca, Tanacetum (Asteraceae); although reported as a pest on these plants in other parts of the world, it has not caused significant damage in Australia.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Thrips nigropilosus Uzel

Original name and synonyms

  • Thrips nigropilosa Uzel, 1895: 198
  • Thrips nigropilosa laevior Uzel, 1895: 199
  • Thrips lactucae Beach, 1896: 224
  • Thrips umbratus Priesner, 1920: 59
  • Thrips pilosissima Priesner, 1922: 92


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