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Order Thysanoptera - Thrips

Adult Thrips Thrips dark bands - Neohydatothrips variabilis Thrips Thrips? - Franklinothrips vespiformis corn pollen unknown insect found on Lilac Thrips
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Thysanoptera (Thrips)
Explanation of Names
Greek thysanos 'fringe' + pteron 'wing' (The wings of thrips are fringed with long hairs)
The word thrips is singular and plural; there is no such word as "thrip", so "I saw a thrips" is an example of correct usage. The word thrips comes from a Greek word meaning "wood louse" or woodworm (CSIRO).
ca. 700 described spp. (and almost 200 undescribed) in ~140 genera of 5 families in our area(1), ~6,230 described species in >780 genera of 9 families worldwide, divided into two suborders: Tubulifera (with a single family, Phlaeothripidae) and Terebrantia; all the families but the monotypic Uzelothripidae are represented in our area(2)(3)(4); ~260 spp. in CA(4), 275 in GA+FL(5)
0.5-14 mm (typically 1-2 mm, NA species under 5 mm)(1)(6)
Some are wingless; where present, the wings are narrow with few or no veins and fringed with long hairs. Mouthparts asymmetrical (no right mandible), suitable for piercing and sucking. Antennae relatively short, 4- to 9-segmented; tarsi 1-2-segmented, with 1-2 claws and are bladder-like at the end.(6)
keys to CA spp. in (7)
Plant-feeding thrips are generally found on soft living plant tissue, though some larval stages may be spent on soil. Fungivorous forms in leaf litter or on dead branches.(9)
Almost half of the known species feed only on fungi; a considerable number feed only on green leaf tissues; a few prey on other arthropods.(9) Plant-feeders often cause damage to leaves and flower petals.(10)
Life Cycle
The metamorphosis is intermediate between simple and complete. Eggs are laid in plant tissue (when the female has an ovipositor) or in crevices or under bark. In suborder Terebrantia, first two instars are larval stages followed by inactive third (prepupa) and fourth (pupa) stages. In suborder Tubulifera, the third and fourth stages comprise the prepupa stage while a fifth stage is the pupa stage. During prepupa and pupa stages, the immature thrips do not feed.(6)
Can have 5-6 larval stages; the last 2 larval stages do not feed(11)
Thrips can often be found on flowers, they are especially visible on light colored flowers like daisies. Be aware that though they are very tiny, they can give a slightly painful bite.
Families not yet in the guide are all rather small(2):
Adiheterothripidae: worldwide, 6 spp. in 3 genera, with two monotypic genera (Oligothrips & Heratythrips) precinctive to w NA and one Old World genus
Fauriellidae: the monotypic Parrellathrips is endemic to CA; other genera in se. Africa and the Mediterranean (5 spp. in 4 genera worldwide)
Print References
Stannard, L.J., Jr. 1957. The phylogeny and classification of the North American genera of the suborder Tubulifera (Thysanoptera). Ill. Bioi. Mon. No. 25. Urbana: Univ. Ill. Press, 200 pp.
Stannard, L.J., Jr. 1968. The Thrips, or Thysanoptera of Illinois. Bull. Ill. Nat. Hist. Survey, 29(4):215-552.
Internet References
Fact sheets/overviews: U. Minnesota | U. Michigan