thrips as pests unique features classification host range visual key: collection visual key: dehydration and clearing visual key: mounting visual key: labelling visual key: automontage molecular key: DNA extraction molecular key: PCR-RFLP molecular key: key construction

Methods and techniques: Visual and molecular key


Except for a few species, identification of living or unprepared thrips is usually impossible. The existence of light and dark forms in many common species, often associated with considerable differences in body size both within and between sexes, necessitates careful collection and preparation of specimens onto microscope slides. Any distortion, damage or wrong positioning can cause specimens to be unidentifiable. Techniques and methods for microscopic slide mounting are best considered under two headings: those appropriate for quick routine identifications, and those required for archival purposes in taxonomic research (Mound and Kibby 1998).
Moreover, the larvae of many thrips species are undescribed, and thus impossible to identify. Anyone planning a pest control programme that includes thrips needs to know quickly the identity of the species that are causing damage, and thus devise the most appropriate control strategy for the prevailing economic and ecological conditions.
This system provides both visual and molecular identification systems for all ontogenetic stages, including even eggs within plant tissue, using molecular techniques based on ITS-RFLP (Moritz et al. 2000).

Important protocols for these steps are available by clicking on the several procedures under visual key and molecular key on the top left corner.

The authors will be pleased to receive comments at the following addresses: