Thrips Order Thysanoptera

Identification: Slender, minute (mostly 0.5-2.0 mm.), pale to blackish. Antennae short, 6- to 9-segmented. Wings when present 4 in number, long and narrow, with few or no veins and fringed with long hairs. Legs short. Tarsi 1- or 2-segmented and swollen at tip. Mouth parts sucking, asymmetrical, in form of a conical beak at base of head on ventral side. Metamorphosis intermediate between simple and complex.

Similar orders: Thrips are not likely to be confused with insects in other orders. They can be recognized by the characteristic form of the mouth parts and wings.

Immature stages: First 2 instars similar to adult but wingless, and called larvae; remaining 2 or 3 preadult instars usually with short wing pads, inactive and nonfeeding; last preadult instar (pupa) sometimes enclosed in a cocoon.

Habits: Most thrips are plant feeders, and many are abundant on vegetation or in flowers. A few are predaceous on other small arthropods, and many feed on fungus spores. Importance: Many plant-feeding thrips damage cultivated plants by their feeding. A few act as vectors of plant diseases. Classification: Two suborders, Terebrantia and Tubulifera, differing in shape of abdomen and development of ovipositor. No. of species: World, 4500; N. America, 600.

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