Thrips of the British Isles


Worldwide, about 6300 species of Thysanoptera in about 780 genera are recognized, of which about 6160 are extant (ThripsWiki 2018). Two sub-orders are most commonly recognized, the Terebrantia and the Tubulifera. Eight families (plus a further five known only from fossils) are recognized in the Terebrantia, but only one family of extant species is recognised in the Tubulifera. The monophyly of both sub-orders, and of each of the four Families recorded from Great Britain and Ireland has been supported by molecular sequence analysis (Buckland et al., 2013). In contrast, Bhatti (1994, 2006) has divided the Thysanoptera into two separate Orders and recognized about 40 families. However, that system largely differs from the more commonly accepted classification in its view of the level at which groups should be classified rather than in its view of the relationships between groups. A summary of the available family-level classifications is presented in Mound (2013).

The Thysanoptera classification used here is web-available in ThripsWiki (2018). The following Table indicates the number of species and the number of genera recorded from Great Britain and Ireland, together with the number of extant species recorded worldwide for each of these Family groups (in January 2018). From these figures it is clear that the British and Irish fauna includes about 5.6% of the world's species in the Aeolothripidae and the Thripinae, the predominantly flower-living thrips, but scarcely more than 1% of the species in the Phlaeothripidae, the predominantly fungus-feeding and leaf-feeding thrips.

Family – Subfamily SpeciesGenera
British & IrishWorld% British & IrishBritish & IrishWorld
Thripidae – Panchaetothripinae51403.6440
Thripidae – Dendrothripinae51054.8212
Thripidae – Sericothripinae31671.823
Thripidae – Thripinae10817166.336234
Phlaeothripidae – Idolothripinae57370.7583
Phlaeothripidae – Phlaeothripinae 3829371.315369

In its entirety, the British and Irish thrips fauna represents approximately 30% of the total species recorded from Europe.


Bhatti JS (1994) Phylogenetic relationships among Thysanoptera (Insecta) with particular reference to the families of the Order Tubulifera. Zoology (Journal of Pure and Applied Zoology) 4 (1993): 93-130.

Bhatti JS (2006) The classification of Terebrantia (Insecta) into families. Oriental Insects 40: 339-375.

Buckland RS, Mound LA & Whiting MF (2013) Phylogeny of thrips (Insecta: Thysanoptera) based on five molecular loci. Systematic Entomology 38: 123-133.

Mound LA (2013) Thysanoptera pp 49-50 in Animal Biodiversity: An Outline of Higher-level Classification and Survey of Taxonomic Richness (Addenda 2013). Zootaxa 3703 (1): 1-82.

ThripsWiki (2018) ThripsWiki - providing information on the World's thrips.