Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macrptera. Body and femora brown, tibiae and tarsi largely yellow; antennal segment III and extreme base of IV yellow, remaining segments brown; fore wings brown with base sharply paler. Antennae 8-segmented, III–IV with constricted slender apex; VII–VIII short. Head wider than long, ocellar setae pair III small and arising on anterior margins of triangle; postocular setae pairs I & III as long as ocellar setae III, pair II minute. Pronotum with 2 pairs of long postero-angular setae; posterior margin with 3 pairs of setae. Metanotum with closely spaced, converging, longitudinal striae; median setae arising behind anterior margin; campaniform sensilla absent. Fore wing first and second veins with complete rows of setae; clavus with 5 marginal setae. Tergite II with 4 lateral marginal setae; tergal sculpture lines not extending mesad of setae S2; tergite VIII with complete posteromarginal comb of slender microtrichia; pleurotergites without discal setae. Sternites with a few discal setae, but these arise close to or even at posterior margin.

Male macroptera. Body yellow with distal antennal segments brown; tergite VIII posterior margin without comb; sternites III–VII each with slender transverse pore plate, sternal marginal and discal setae difficult to distinguish from each other.

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. The striate sculpture of the metanotum in T. setipennis suggests this species might be related to T. rhabdotus from the Pacific. However, the arrangement of the sternal discal setae, close to or even at the posterior margin, is unique.

Distribution data

General distribution

Known only from Australia.

Australian distribution

Eastern Australia, from Brisbane to Tasmania.

Biological data

Life history

Feeding and breeding in flowers.

Host plants

Polyphagous in many subtropical plants, including Hibbertia (Dilleniaceae), Prostanthera Lamiaceae), Wilkeia (Monimiaceae) Livistona (Palmae).

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Thrips setipennis (Bagnall)

Original name and synonyms

  • Physothrips setipennis Bagnall, 1916: 399
  • Physothrips chaetoneurus Karny, 1920: 37
  • Physothrips ignobilis Bagnall, 1926: 101
  • Physothrips myrsiniicola Bagnall, 1926: 103
  • Physothrips quadrisetae Girault, 1927: 1
  • Physothrips citrilacteus Girault, 1928: 1
  • Physothrips keatsi Girault, 1928: 3


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