Until recently, this family was considered to include
about 250 species in about 27 genera. However, four of these genera,
together with more than 50 species, are now placed in the family Melanthripidae
Almost 50% of the recognised genera of Aeolothripidae
are found only in tropical countries, although each of these genera
includes few species. In contrast, the largest genus, Aeolothrips,
includes about 50% of the species recognised in the family, and is
restricted primarily to the Northern Hemisphere.
The tropical aeolothripid species are predominantly obligate predators,
whereas most species of Aeolothrips
seem to be facultative predators in flowers, feeding on plant tissues
as well as small arthropods.
Aeolothripid species have 9-segmented antennae, with the terminal
3 or 5 segments more or less closely joined together, and segments
III and IV do not bear rings of microtrichia. Most species have the
sensoria on segments III and IV linear, along the segment but sometimes
curling slightly around the apex of the segment. However, the species
of Rhipidothrips have the sensoria
transverse around the apex of these segments. No species Aeolothripidae
has a pair of lobes on the posterior margin of the seventh abdominal
sternite, in contrast to the species of Melanthripidae.