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Taeniothrips inconsequens adult - AE.png
Pear thrips ( Taeniothrips inconsequens ) imago
Scientific classification OOjs UI icon edit-ltr.svg
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Thysanoptera
Suborder: Terebrantia
Family: Thripidae
Stephens, 1829 [1]
4 subfamilies

The Thripidae are the most speciose family of thrips, with over 290 genera representing just over two thousand species. [2] They can be distinguished from other thrips by a saw-like ovipositor curving downwards, narrow wings with two veins, and antennae of six to ten antennomeres with stiletto-like forked sense cones on antennal segments III and IV. [3]


They are considered to be among the more derived of thrips, having evolved many traits key to specializing as cryptophilous phytovores, living in the narrow spaces at the bases of leaves and within flowers. [4] [5]

Several species are economically significant pests, some of them invasive. Almost all of them are typical thrips which belong in the largest subfamily, the Thripinae.


Many of the divisions within the Thripidae are not based on common ancestry, but are instead based on common environment and morphological homoplasy, and these distinctions tend to be irrelevant to true phylogenetic relationships. [6] As a result, many species of the Thripidae have undergone recent drastic taxonomic revision, splitting and promoting two tribes, Dendrothripini and Sericothripini, to subfamily status, [7] with the possibility of greater reorganizations to come as modern phylogenetic methods and a more comprehensive morphological analysis provide additional evidence defining evolutionary relationships. [8] This revision is probably necessary, as more than half of the genera in family Thripidae are monobasic, with the majority of monotypic species concentrated in subfamily Thripinae. [9] However, a 2012 molecular phylogeny found that the Thripinae was paraphyletic; further work will be needed to clarify the relationships within the group. [10]


The Thripidae are thus ordered into four subfamilies:

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thrips</span> Order of insects

Thrips are minute, slender insects with fringed wings and unique asymmetrical mouthparts. Entomologists have described approximately 7,700 species. They fly only weakly and their feathery wings are unsuitable for conventional flight; instead, thrips exploit an unusual mechanism, clap and fling, to create lift using an unsteady circulation pattern with transient vortices near the wings.

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<span class="mw-page-title-main">Empididae</span> Family of flies

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<i>Orthotospovirus</i> Genus of viruses

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<i>Scirtothrips dorsalis</i> Species of thrip

The chilli thrips or yellow tea thrips, Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood, is an extremely successful invasive species of pest-thrips which has expanded rapidly from Asia over the last twenty years, and is gradually achieving a global distribution. It has most recently been reported in St. Vincent (2004) Florida (2005), Texas (2006), and Puerto Rico (2007). It is a pest of economic significance with a broad host range, with prominent pest reports on crops including pepper, eggplant, mango, citrus, strawberry, grapes, cotton, tea, peanuts, blueberry, and roses. Chilli thrips appear to feed preferentially on new growth, and infested plants usually develop characteristic wrinkled leaves, with distinctive brown scarring along the veins of leaves, the buds of flowers, and the calyx of fruit. Feeding damage can reduce the sale value of crops produced, and in sufficient numbers, kill plants already aggravated by environmental stress. This thrips has also been implicated in the transmission of three tospoviruses, but there is some controversy over its efficiency as a vector.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sterrhinae</span> Subfamily of moths

Sterrhinae is a large subfamily of geometer moths with some 3,000 described species, with more than half belonging to the taxonomically difficult, very diverse genera, Idaea and Scopula. This subfamily was described by Edward Meyrick in 1892. They are the most diverse in the tropics with the number of species decreasing with increasing latitude and elevation.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Thripinae</span> Subfamily of thrips

The Thripinae are a subfamily of thrips, insects of the order Thysanoptera. The Thripinae belong to the common thrips family Thripidae and include around 1,400 species in 150 genera. A 2012 molecular phylogeny found that the Thripinae was paraphyletic; further work will be needed to clarify the relationships within the group.

<i>Scirtothrips</i> Genus of thrips

Scirtothrips is a genus of thrips in the family Thripidae.

Frankliniella schultzei, the common blossom thrips or cotton thrips, is a species of thrips in the family Thripidae. It is found in many parts of the world and is an important pest insect in agriculture.

Ctenothrips is a genus of thrips in the family Thripidae. There are about 10 described species in Ctenothrips.

Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis is a species of thrips in the family Thripidae. It is most commonly known as the greenhouse thrips, the glasshouse thrip or black tea thrips. This species of thrips was first described in 1833 by Bouché in Berlin, Germany. H. haemorrhoidalis also has many synonyms depending on where they were described from such as: H. adonidum Haliday, H. semiaureus Girault, H. abdominalis Reuter, H. angustior Priesner, H. ceylonicus Schultz, Dinurothrips rufiventris Girault. In New Zealand, H. haemorrhoidalis is one of the four species belonging to the subfamily Panchaetothripinae.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Panchaetothripinae</span> Subfamily of thrips

Panchaetothripinae is a subfamily of thrips in the family Thripidae, first described in 1912 by Richard Siddoway Bagnall. There are about 11 genera and more than 50 described species in Panchaetothripinae.

Parthenothrips is a genus of thrips in the family Thripidae. There is one described species in Parthenothrips, P. dracaenae.

<i>Echinothrips americanus</i> Species of thrip

Echinothrips americanus is a species of thrips in the family Thripidae. It is found in North America, Europe, and Asia. E. americanus was first described in 1913 by entomologist A.C. Morgan in Quincy, Florida, where he found the insect on a Veratrum viride plant. Suggested common names include Poinsettia thrips and Impatiens thrips. Since their spread throughout Europe as early as 1995, and subsequently China, E. americanus has been called an "upcoming pest."

<i>Echinothrips</i> Genus of thrips

Echinothrips is a genus of thrips in the family Thripidae. There are about seven described species in Echinothrips.

Neohydatothrips variabilis, the soybean thrips, is a species of thrips in the family Thripidae. It is found in Central America and North America.

Selenothrips is a genus of thrips in the family Thripidae, first described in 1911 by Heinrich Hugo Karny. There are at least two described species in Selenothrips.

Scirtothrips aurantii is a thrips pest of Citrus spp., Mangifera indica, Musa × paradisiaca, Musa acuminata, and Camellia sinensis.


  1. Stephens, J.F. (1829). A systematic catalogue of British insects. London. p. 363.
  2. Mound, L. A. 2002. So many thrips – so few tospoviruses?, pp. 15 - 18. In L. A. Mound and R. Marullo [eds.], Thrips and Tospoviruses: Proceedings of the 7th International Symposium on Thysanoptera. CSIRO Entomology, Reggio Calabria, Italy.
  3. Mound, L. A. 1998. Thysanoptera: an identification guide. CAB International, Oxon, New York.
  4. Gentile, A. G., and S. F. Bailey. 1968. A revision of the genus Thrips Linnaeus in the New World, with a catalogue of world species (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). University of California Press, Berkeley, CA.
  5. Lewis, T. 1973. Thrips. Their biology, ecology and economic importance. Academic Press, London, GB.
  6. Mound, L. A., and D. C. Morris. 2004. Thysanoptera Phylogeny – the Morphological Background. Acta Phytopathologica et Entomologica Hungarica 39: 101 - 113.
  7. Moritz, G., D. C. Morris, and L. A. Mound. 2001. Thrips ID: an interactive identification and information system (CD), Pest thrips of the world. CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Australia.
  8. Grimaldi, D., A. Shmakov, and N. Fraser. 2004. Mesozoic Thrips, and early evolution of the Order Thysanoptera (Insecta). Journal of Paleontology 78: 941 - 952.
  9. Mound, L. A. 2005. Thysanoptera: diversity and interactions. Annual Review of Entomology 50: 247 - 269.
  10. Buckman, Rebecca S.; Mound, Laurence A.; Whiting, Michael F. (2012). "Phylogeny of thrips (Insecta: Thysanoptera) based on five molecular loci". Systematic Entomology. 38 (1): 123–133. doi:10.1111/j.1365-3113.2012.00650.x. S2CID   84909610.

Further reading

Thrips on the UF / IFAS Featured Creatures Web site