Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body and legs yellow, major setae light brown; antennal segments IV–V brown distally, VI–VII brown; fore wings pale. Antennae 7-segmented, III–IV slightly constricted at apex, VII short. Head wider than long, ocellar setae pair III small and arising just outside ocellar triangle; postocular setae pair I slightly longer than ocellar setae III. Pronotum with 2 pairs of long postero-angular setae, posterior margin with 3 pairs of setae. Metanotum with irregular longitudinal lines converging to posterior margin, with curving transverse lines at anterior; median setae arising behind anterior margin, campaniform sensilla present. Fore wing first vein with 3 (or 2) setae on distal half, second vein with row of about 15 setae. Tergite II with 4 lateral marginal setae; posterior margin of tergite VIII with complete comb of long slender microtrichia. Sternites and pleurotergites without discal setae, pleurotergal sculpture lines without microtrichia.

Male macroptera. Similar to but smaller than female; tergite VIII with marginal comb complete medially; sternites III–VII with narrow 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. Although T. palmi is very similar in structure to the common Holarctic species, T. flavus Schrank, ocellar setae pair III are close together behind the first ocellus and within the ocellar triangle. Another closely related species is known from India and Peninsular Malaysia (Mound & Azidah, 2009).

Distribution data

General distribution

Originally from Asian tropics but now widespread in tropical countries, including Australia.

Australian distribution

Northern Territory, Queensland.

Biological data

Life history

Feeding and breeding in flowers and on leaves.

Host plants

Polyphagous, particularly common on crops of Cucurbitaceae and Solanaceae, also cultivated Orchids; a major pest on several crops, both through direct feeding damage and as a tospovirus vector.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Thrips palmi Karny

Original name and synonyms

  • Thrips palmi Karny, 1925: 10
  • Thrips clarus Moulton, 1928: 294
  • Thrips leucadophilus Priesner, 1936: 91
  • Thrips gossypicola Priesner, 1939: 41
  • Chloethrips aureus Ananthakrishnan & Jagadish, 1967: 381
  • Thrips gracilis Ananthakrishnan & Jagadish, 1968: 361


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

Mound LA & Azidah AA. 2009. Species of the genus Thrips (Thysanoptera) from Peninsular Malaysia, with a checklist of recorded Thripidae. Zootaxa 2023: 55-68.http://www.mapress.com/zootaxa/2009/f/zt02023p068.pdf

Oz thrips taxa