Body - long and slender. They range from 0.5mm to 15mm long.
Wings (when present) are fringed. They lay parallel to the body when at rest and do not overlap.
Asymmetrical mouthparts for sucking and scraping.
Head is often striped.
Antennae have 4-9 segments.
Fore legs long and slender and often modified for gripping.
Hind legs larger and may be modified for jumping.
Abdomen has 11 segments. Spiracles are on segments 1 and 8.
There are species of thrips all over Australia.
One to several generations per year. Hatches from a relatively large egg to become a larva, then pupa, that looks like a nymph (or miniature adult). Has several moults before reaching it final size in several weeks. They may be carried long distances by wind. Some Australian species may be blown to New Zealand. Heavy rainfall and natural enemies help control populations.
Origin and History:
They feed on pollen, flowers, leaves, fungi or small arthropods depending on the species of thrip. Characteristic spots of excreta on the host may be formed. Economically important species include Thrips imaginis on apples and fruit trees, Thrips tabaci on cotton, onions and cucurbits, Thrips simplex on gladioli, Thrips hawaiiensis on banana, Frankliniella schultzei carries spotted tomato wilt virus, Anaphothrips on wheat and Halothrips on clover in France. Several species cause galls. There are a large number of thrips of no economic importance and may be involved in the pollination of some species.
Management and Control:
In most years control is not economical. A number of insecticides are effective.
CSIRO. The Insects of Australia. Melbourne University Press. (1991).
Collated by HerbiGuide. Phone 08 98444064 for more information.