Thrips of the British Isles

Future distributions and climate change

In connection with climate change, insect species have been recorded moving northwards in Europe, including both into and within Britain, (e.g., Parmesan et al., 1999; Hickling et al., 2005; Sparks et al., 2007). It may be inferred that this is likely to apply also to Thysanoptera, but given both the lack of robust baseline distribution data for the purposes of comparison and the dynamic relationship between thrips and winds it is difficult to draw definitive conclusions. Thus recent first findings in Britain of the continental European species Frankliniella pallida and Odontothrips confusus may be indicative of a northward range expansion, though in each case findings remain restricted to a single locality. Similarly, the ranges of Dendrothrips degeeri and Stenchaetothrips biformis seem to have extended further north in recent decades, although this might be related to increased collecting activity in Yorkshire. Nevertheless, climate change is likely to make it easier for accidental introductions to spread and breed outdoors, as seems to be true of Neoheegeria dalmatica, a species locally common around York (Collins, 2007). However, populations of some thrips species are possibly more stable; for example, Dendrothrips saltator has been recorded only twice in Britain, but these findings were 79 years and only a few miles apart (Collins, 2010b).


Collins DW (2007) Two species of thrips (Thysanoptera) new to Britain, Neoheegeria dalmatica Schmutz and Frankliniella pallida (Uzel), with an updated key to the British species of Frankliniella Karny. British Journal of Entomology and Natural History 20: 241-248.

Collins DW (2010b) A second British record of Dendrothrips saltator Uzel (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), after a gap of 79 years. British Journal of Entomology and Natural History 23: 258.

Hickling R, Roy DB, Hill JK & Thomas CD (2005) A northward shift of range margins in British Odonata. Global Change Biology 11: 502-506.

Parmesan C, Ryrholm N, Stefanescu C, Hill JK, Thomas CD, Descimon H, Huntley B, Kaila L, Kullberg J, Tammaru T, Tennent W, Thomas JA & Warren M (1999) Poleward shifts in geographical ranges of butterfly species associated with regional warming. Nature 399: 579-583.

Sparks TH, Dennis LH, Croxton PJ & Cade M (2007) Increased migration of Lepidoptera linked to climate change. European Journal of Entomology 104: 139-143.