Thysanoptera in Australia

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macroptera. Body, legs and antennae brown, tarsi yellow, antennal segment III scarcely paler brown than IV; fore wings deeply shaded, base pale. Antennae 8-segmented. Head broader than long; ocellar setae III short, arising behind first ocellus; postocular setae I about as long as side of ocellar triangle, III and V twice as long as II and IV. Pronotum with weak transverse markings, 20–26 discal setae present each about as long as postocular setae I; postero-angular setae more than 0.6 as long as median length of pronotum; posterior margin with 3 pairs of setae, S1 almost 0.5 as long as postero-angular setae. Fore tarsus with pretarsal claw minute, commonly not visible. Mesonotum with sculpture lines near anterior campaniform sensilla. Metanotum transversely striate at anterior but medially with irregular longitudinal reticulations or striae; median setae behind anterior margin, campaniform sensilla present. Fore wing first vein with continuous row of 20–24 setae, second vein with 12–18 setae; clavus with terminal and subterminal setae subequal. Tergite II with 4 lateral marginal setae; tergites IV–VI each with 3 lines of sculpture extending mesad of setae S2; ctenidia on VIII terminating close to spiracle anterior to setae S3; tergite VIII with posteromarginal comb complete but often irregular medially; tergite IX with anterior campaniform sensilla present. Sternites and pleurotergites with no discal setae.

Male macroptera. Body brown, tergite VIII with comb sometimes absent; sternites III–VII with 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. The position in T. wellsae of the ctenidia on tergite VIII indicates that this is a member of the endemic Australian T. seticollis species-group. It is closely related to T. seticollis and to T. tomeus but has a dark third antennal segment and lacks a prominent pretarsal claw on the fore tarsus.

Distribution data

General distribution

Known only from Australia.

Australian distribution

Montane areas of Tasmania and south-eastern Australia.

Biological data

Life history

Feeding and breeding in flowers.

Host plants

Montane Ericaceae, Richea continentisLeucopogon montanusEpacris glacialis, E. paludosa.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Thrips wellsae Mound & Masumoto

Original name and synonyms

  • Thrips wellsae Mound & Masumoto, 2005: 57


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