Thrips of the British Isles

How to operate the identification system

  1. This identification system is computer driven and is designed to function automatically, by selecting the button "Best" and alternating this with the button "Prune Redundant Features" . A sophisticated tool, it will NOT function well if it is misused by randomly selecting character states that might seem to be obvious on a particular specimen (but see 7 below).
  2. If you find that a character suggested by the system as “best” is difficult to see, then click for a second or third time on “Best” to find the “next best” option.
  3. Additional features become available as soon as you select the form of the tenth abdominal segment.
  4. View an image of a Feature by clicking the image icon next to it. Or you can turn on the Feature Thumbnails by clicking the "Feature Thumbnails" button .
  5. With a multi-state character, you can select two states if you are not confident about selecting any single state. BUT always use character states that you can see easily and can evaluate confidently.
  6. To view information about each thrips species, click the page icon next to the species name. This identification system should enable the user to identify samples of thrips to species, but isolated individuals can be more difficult due to within-species variation in structure and colour. It is therefore good practice to check any identification against comments on the relevant datasheet.
  7. For an experienced thrips identifier, an alternative method of operating the system is to select character states that, from previous experience, are particularly useful. For example, if you can recognise the existence and position of tergal ctenidia, then selecting the appropriate character state will produce an identification more quickly. But “obvious” states such as colour of wings, legs or antennae are liable to considerable variation within and between populations, and should not be used in the early stages of an identification.