Thrips of the British Isles


The British and Irish distributions noted here are based on the detailed county records given in the 1976 Royal Entomology Society's Handbook (Mound et al., 1976), supplemented by a survey of more recent depositions of specimens in the Thysanoptera collection of the Natural History Museum, London, and the personal, published and unpublished, collecting records of the authors. Records from Ireland are summarised by O'Connor (2008). Few people have collected thrips in Britain, and the county records were derived largely from the activities of R. S. Bagnall or Guy Morison during the first half of the 20th century. Morison lived in Aberdeen for much of his life, a fact reflected in the many records of thrips from northern Scotland, but during the 1939-1945 war, his official duties took him widely across Britain. The distribution records are thus not necessarily a good reflection of the actual distribution of species, particularly as some may be based on single wind-dispersed individuals. Furthermore, populations of many species of thrips appear to be strongly aggregated and non-random at a local scale, making accurate sampling of local faunas difficult. The overall biomass of Britain's insect fauna has almost certainly decreased in recent decades (e.g., Hayhow et al. 2016), analogous to a recently quantified decline observed from a number of nature reserves in Germany (Hallmann et al., 2017), but the available data is not suitable for analysing any decrease in thrips populations. However, for fungus-feeding Phlaeothripidae, records and personal experience indicate that these were more readily collected up into the 1960s and 1970s than in the first decades of the present century. Concerning distribution across these islands, it appears that more thrips species have been found in the drier eastern areas than in the moister western areas. Interpreting distributions along the north/south axis is more difficult, because it appears that many species can be dispersed from south to north by winds at least during the summer. Distribution records quoted here for continental Europe are provided as large-scale summations derived mainly from cross-referencing zur Strassen (2003), Fauna Europaea (Vierbergen, 2013) and, where available, a number of published national or regional check-lists such as Gertsson (2015).


Gertsson C-A (2015) An annotated checklist of Thysanoptera (thrips) from the Nordic countries. Entomologisk Tidskrift 136 (4): 185-198.

Hallmann CA, Sorg M, Jongejans E, Siepel H, Hofland N, Schwan H, Stenmans W, Müller A, Sumser H, Hörren T, Goulson D & de Kroon H (2017) More than 75 percent decline over 27 years in total flying insect biomass in protected areas. PLoSONE 12 (10):

Hayhow DB, Burns F, Eaton MA, Al Fulaij N, August TA, Babey L, Bacon L, Bingham C, Boswell J, Boughey KL, Brereton T, Brookman E, Brooks DR, Bullock DJ, Burke O, Collis M, Corbet L, Cornish N, De Massimi S, Densham J, Dunn E, Elliott S, Gent T, Godber J, Hamilton S, Havery S, Hawkins S, Henney J, Holmes K, Hutchinson N, Isaac NJB, Johns D, Macadam CR, Mathews F, Nicolet P, Noble DG, Outhwaite CL, Powney GD, Richardson P, Roy DB, Sims D, Smart S, Stevenson K, Stroud RA, Walker KJ, Webb JR, Webb TJ, Wynde R & Gregory RD (2016) State of Nature 2016. The State of Nature partnership.

Mound LA, Morison GD, Pitkin BR & Palmer JM (1976) Thysanoptera. Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects 1 (11): 1-79.

O'Connor JP (2008) A review of the Irish thrips (Thysanoptera). Irish Naturalists' Journal 29: 20-24.

Vierbergen G (2013) Thysanoptera. Fauna Europaea version 2017.06,

zur Strassen R (2003) Die terebranten Thysanopteren Europas und des Mittelmeer-Gebietes. Die Tierwelt Deutschlands 74: 1-271.