Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body and legs dark brown, tarsi and antennal segment III yellowish brown; fore wings brown with base paler. Antennae 8-segmented. Head wider than long; ocellar setae pair III small, arising just inside anterior margins of triangle; postocular setae pairs I & III slightly longer than ocellar setae III, pair II minute. Pronotal external postero-angular setae slightly shorter than inner pair; posterior margin with 3 or 4 pairs of setae. Metanotum reticulate medially, reticles elongate on posterior half, with faint sculptured markings inside most reticles; median setae short and arising behind anterior margin; campaniform sensilla absent. Fore wing first vein with about 7 setae on distal half, second vein with about 14 setae; clavus with 5 marginal setae. Tergite II with 3 lateral marginal setae; posterior margin of tergite VIII with complete but slightly irregular comb of microtrichia; pleurotergites without discal setae, sculptured with rows of coarsely ciliate microtrichia. Sternite II with 1 or 2 discal setae, III–VII with about 12 discal setae in single row.

Male macroptea. Smaller than female but similar in colour; tergite VIII with no posteromarginal comb; sternites III–VII each with large transverse pore plate, discal setae arising laterally.

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. simplex is an African species (Mound, 2010) with no close relatives in the Australian fauna.

Distribution data

General distribution

Originally from South Africa, but now widespread around the world.

Australian distribution

Local, wherever Gladiolus is grown.

Biological data

Life history

Feeding and breeding in flowers and on leaves.

Host plants

Oligophagous on Iridaceae, mainly Gladiolus, but also CrocosmiaNeomarica. The Gladiolus Thrips can cause serious streaking on the flowers of this valuable horticultural crop.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Thrips simplex (Morison)

Original name and synonyms

  • Physothrips simplex Morison, 1930: 12
  • Taeniothrips gladioli Moulton & Steinweden, 1931: 20
  • Physothrips plurisetae Girault, 1933: 2
  • Taeniothrips quinani Moulton, 1936: 506
  • Taeniothrips gladiolicola Pussard, 1946: 774


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