Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body and legs brown, tarsi and antennal segment III yellow; fore wings pale. Antennae 8-segmented, III–IV constricted to distinct apical neck. Head as wide as long, cheeks convex, ocellar setae pair III arising on anterior margins of ocellar triangle and slightly longer than side of triangle; postocular setae pairs I & III shorter than ocellar setae pair III, pair II minute. Pronotum posterior margin with 3 (or 4) pairs of setae. Metanotum with parallel lines of sculpture medially converging at posterior, median setae arising near anterior margin; campaniform sensilla present. Fore wing first vein with 3 setae on distal half, second vein with complete row of about 14 setae. Tergite II with 3 lateral marginal setae; posterior margin of VIII with complete comb of long microtrichia; pleurotergites with 3 or 4 discal setae. Sternite II with few discal setae, III–VII with 15–20 discal setae in an irregular double row.

Male macroptera. Body brown, smaller than female; tergite VIII without posteromarginal comb; sternites III–VII with broadly transverse pore plate in front of discal setae.

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 European species T. vulgatissimus is similar in general appearance to the New Zealand flower thrips, T. obscuratus, but differs from that as well as the other endemic New Zealand species of genus Thrips in having only two (rather than three) pairs of setae on the posterior margin of the second abdominal sternite.

Distribution data

General distribution

Europe, North America, New Zealand, Australia.

Australian distribution

Tasmania, southern Victoria.

Biological data

Life history

Feeding and breeding in flowers.

Host plants

Polyphagous, commonly in white flowers of Caryophyllaceae.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Thrips vulgatissimus Haliday, 1836

Original name and synonyms

  • Thrips vulgatissimus Haliday, 1836: 447
  • Physopus pallipennis Uzel, 1895: 110
  • Physopus pallipennis adusta Uzel, 1895: 110
  • Taeniothrips lemanis Treherne, 1924: 87
  • Taeniothrips atricornis Priesner, 1926: 298
  • Taeniothrips gracilis Priesner, 1926: 298
  • Taeniothrips americanus Moulton, 1929: 130
  • Physothrips gentianae Bagnall, 1933: 653
  • Taeniothrips tahvanus Hukkinen, 1936: 139


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