Key introduction & Key start guide
This LucID 3.5 key is a first attempt to create user-friendly tools and information system for identification of pest thrips and some of their natural enemies in Eastern Africa. It comprises of over 1400 pictorial illustrations of character states for more than 100 species belonging to nearly 60 genera in the families Aeolothripidae, Phlaeothripidae and Thripidae. Distribution maps for about 60 thrips species in Eastern Africa are also included. Apart from the information on Aeolothripidae which are mostly predatory, we have also included a sub-key to 8 Eulophid thrips parasitoid species, belonging to 4 genera. This CD ROM provides important information to economic entomologists, plant virologists and quarantine workers.
Choice of thrips species for this version of key was constrained, due to the fact that a comprehensive checklist of thrips occurring in Eastern Africa is lacking. Hence we based our selection on some information available for Tropical Africa (Palmer 1990), Western Africa (Pitkins and Mound 1973), South Africa (Zur Strassen 2006), museum collections at Senkenberg Museum, Frankfurt in addition to outcomes of surveys undertaken in Kenya and Uganda. For example, formal reports for species such as Frankliniella williamsi, Frankliniella borinquen, Franklinothrips vespiformis, Gynaikothrips uzeli etc are not available from Eastern Africa, however these have been included since they were observed and confirmed during field surveys. Recent publications from Laurence Mound on some of the pest thrips genus such as Ceratothripoides (Mound et al. 2009), Thrips (Mound et al. 2010) and Scirtothrips (Mound et al. 2011) has aided immensely in the development of this key.
While most of the thrips included in the CD are likely to be observed on a wide array of crops in Eastern Africa, we would like to explicitly state that this key is not an exhaustive revision of the thrips fauna in Eastern Africa. Illustrations are mainly based on museum collections and some field collected specimens. Lack of well processed and preserved specimens has compromised some of the illustrations presented in this CD. To stimulate interest among the users and to broaden the utility of the tool, wherever possible we have included information on thrips distribution and host association. A word of caution, the host records included are only based on occurrence and further detailed investigations on ability of thrips to breed on these host plants are encouraged. To aid budding thrips researchers in Eastern Africa and beyond we have included exhaustive bibliographic information for each species.
The information on the natural enemies of thrips included in this key is a first step towards opening up further research on biological control of thrips in the region. We believe that such a tool will stimulate interest among economic entomologists, biological control researchers and taxonomists in the region to unravel the diversity of thrips and their natural enemies in Eastern Africa and beyond. The tools should also be handy for quarantine officers in Eastern Africa and export destination regions such as America, Europe, Asia and Australia to monitor thrips in crop produces imported from Eastern Africa.
Precautions to be observed while using the CD
First and foremost, care and diligence needs to be adopted while processing the specimens as outlined in this CD or elsewhere, so that all the character states are visible clearly. Although this tool is user-friendly extensive practice on recognition of character states is recommended and its is essential. As and when required, users are advised to consult the glossary included in this CD or access other interactive glossaries available on the web for clear understanding of the character states. The illustrations provided for the different character states in the key are only indicative and might not be precisely the same as you observe in your specimens. The illustrations are meant to guide the users to make well informed decisions during choice of character states. Some of the character states (eg. sense cones on the antennae, ctenedia on the VIII abdominal segment) are only visible with visualization/focusing through the depth of the field (object) using fine adjustments. Hence the users are advised to update their skills on microscopic techniques and also acquaint themselves with options for manipulations available in the compound or phase contrast microscope at your desk (suggested reading materials).
Mound LA 2010. Species of the Genus Thrips (Thysanoptera, Thripidae) from the Afro-tropical Region. Zootaxa 2423: 1-24
Mound LA & Nickle DA 2009. The Old-World genus Ceratothripoides (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) with a new genus for related New-World species. Zootaxa 2230: 57-63
Mound LA & Stiller M 2011. Species of the genus Scirtothrips from Africa (Thysanoptera, Thripidae). Zootaxa 2786: 51-61
Palmer JM 1990. Identification of the common thrips of Tropical Africa (Thysanoptera: Insecta). Tropical pest management, 1990, 36(1) 27-49
Pitkin BR & Mound LA 1973. A catalogue of West African Thysanoptera. Bulletin de ľInstitut Fondamental de ľAfrique Noire 35: 407-449
zur Strassen R 2006. Checklist of the Thysanoptera (Insecta) of southern Africa. African Entomology 14 (1): 63-68
Web linksMound´s Thysanoptera pages