Insects and their Allies  

Thysanoptera: thrips

Thrips are small winged insects ranging in size from 0.5-15 millimetres in length. They are closely related to bugs (Hemiptera) with similar sucking mouthparts but can be distinguished by the following features:

Thrips australis (eucalyptus thrips)
Thrips australis THRIPIDAE
(Eucalyptus thrips)

  • Slender, cylindrical, elongate body
  • Sucking and rasping mouthparts
  • 2 pairs of slender membranous wings that are fringed with long hairs. Some species are wingless
  • Legs that end in a bladder-like organs not a typical tarsal claw

Thrips australis belongs to the THRIPIDAE family and is common among Eucalyptus flowers where it is thought to feed on nectar.

Life Cycle
Thrips lay their eggs either on the food plant in slits within the plant tissue or scattered where the female is feeding. On hatching nymphs begin to feed immediately on the plant beside their parents. The nymphs appear similar to the adults but lack wings. Nymphs develop through a few stages before they undergo a pre-pupal and then a pupal stage before becoming fully reproductive adults.

Thrips are mainly plant feeders, sucking up fluids from the leaves and flowers of a wide variety of plants. Some species feed on fungus while others are predatory. Many plant feeding thrips are pests of agricultural and horticultural crops.

Thrips are widely distributed throughout Australia and can be found on a wide variety of plant species, both native and introduced. Many species also occur in leaf litter or under the bark of trees.