The holotype of this species has been studied, but is a dark micropterous specimen on which few details are visible. Cott (1956: 44-46). provided a redescription based on further micropterous specimens of both sexes, but these have not been re-examined.
L. gaviotae is known only from short-winged adults, and has the head shorter and broader than other members of the genus in California, with the short antennal segments almost uniformly dark brown. Currently, there are 290 species listed in the genus Liothrips, although 30 of these are placed in two sub-genera known only from Asia. As a result, this is larger than either Thrips or Haplothrips, these three being the largest genera of Thysanoptera. However, in comparison to both Thrips and Haplothrips there are far greater problems in Liothrips in species recognition. A particularly high proportion of the described species are known from single samples, or even single individuals, resulting in little knowledge of variation within and between species, and thus the general assumption that most members of the genus are host-specific requires extensive testing. Stannard (1957) listed 32 species of Liothrips from North America, and subsequently (Stannard, 1968) included 14 of these in his keys to the Illinois fauna. Cott (1957) treated 11 species from California, two of which he placed in Rhynchothrips, but currently from this State there are 13 Liothrips species listed (Hoddle et al., 2004) of which several cannot at present be recognized.
Liothrips gaviotae (Moulton)
Presumably breeding on leaves
Possibly specific to Adenostoma fasciculatum (Rosaceae) (Cott, 1956).