Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body and legs yellow; antennal segments I–III yellow, IV–VI light brown with base yellow; fore wings pale. Antennae 7-segmented. Head wider than long, ocellar setae pair III small and arising just within triangle posterolateral to fore ocellus; postocular setae pair I about as long as ocellar setae pair III; postocular seta pair II much smaller than III. Pronotum with only one pair of postero-angular setae, posterior margin with 3 pairs of setae. Metanotum reticulate medially, median setae arising behind anterior margin, campaniform sensilla present. Fore wing first vein with 3 setae on distal half, second vein with about 16 setae; clavus with 5 marginal setae. Tergite II with 4 lateral marginal setae; posterior margin of tergite VIII with comb absent medially but represented laterally by a few irregular microtrichia. Sternite II with 2 pairs of marginal setae, III–VI commonly with 4 to 5 pairs (of which one or more setae may arise sub-marginally), VII with 3 pairs; sternite II with 1–4 discal setae, III–VII with discal setae varying in number 10–24 in more than one irregular transverse row; pleurotergites without discal setae.

Male macroptera. Similar to female in colour and structure but smaller; tergite VIII without posteromarginal comb of microtrichia; sternites III–VII with small 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. T. unispinus shares with T. aspinus and T. subnudula the duplication, or partial duplication, of the setae on the posterior margin of the sternites. However, in contrast to those two species, and also to T. imaginis, it has no pleurotergal discal setae. Only one other member of genus Thrips has been described with a single pair of elongate pronotal postero-angular setae, T. antiaropsis from Papua New Guinea (Zerega et al., 2004), but that lacks discal setae on the sternites as well as the pleurotergites.

Distribution data

General distribution

Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Brunei, Peninsular Malaysia, Australia.

Australian distribution

Queensland, Torres Straits Islands, Northern Territory, Western Australia.

Biological data

Life history

Feeding and breeding in flowers.

Host plants

Polyphagous, but associated with Mangifera indica (Anacardiaceae).

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Thrips unispinus Moulton, 1940

Original name and synonyms

  • Thrips (Epithrips) unispinus Moulton, 1940: 252


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