About 1750 species in 260 or more genera are currently recognised in the family Thripidae. These insects have been found in all parts of the world from Greenland to the Sub-Antarctic Islands. The adults have simple or forked emergent sense cones on antennal segments III & IV, and the number of antennal segments varies from 6 to 9 (usually 7 or 8). The forewings are slender with two longitudinal veins in addition to the costal vein, the marginal cilia arise from sockets that are shaped like a figure 8, and the wing surface is covered with microtrichia. However, in many species the adults of one or both sexes are wingless. Females have a saw-like ovipositor comprising 4 valves. The life cycle comprises the egg, two larval instars that feed actively, two pupal instars that do not feed, and then the adults.

The generic classification of the Thripidae is now reasonably stable, but attempts to recognise suprageneric groups are less successful. Two major subfamilies, the Panchaetothripinae and Thripinae, are usually recognised, and ThripsID2001 provides a key to these groups. In recent years two further, but much smaller, subfamilies, the Dendrothripinae and Sericothripinae, have been recognised (Bhatti, 1989; Mound, 1997, 1999), although in ThripsID2001 the taxa involved are considered within the Thripinae. Various attempts by earlier authors to recognise a series of tribes and subtribes are also mentioned under the heading Thripinae.


About 120 species are recognised in this subfamily, and these are arranged in 35 genera. However, only four of these genera include more than three species, and 19 include only a single species each. The species are found primarily in the tropics and subtropics, although some are found in greenhouses in temperate areas, and a considerable number have been taken on various crops on which they are sometimes pests.

Members of the Panchaetothripinae are usually dark brown with a strongly reticulate body surface, at least the legs also being strongly reticulate. The first vein of the forewings is fused to, or lies very close to, the costal vein, and the mesothoracic endofurca does not bear a spinula. Wilson (1975) gave a full account of the members of this subfamily, and Mound, Marullo & Trueman (2001) examined the generic classification.

Anisopilothrips venustulus


Caliothrips striatopterus


Chaetoanaphothrips signipennis


Thrips australis