Both sexes fully winged. Female wings with two dark transverse bands, ring vein pale around wing apex but weakly shaded between the dark bands. Body bicoloured, head and thorax yellow with variable brown areas medially, abdominal segments I–IV largely yellow, V–VI sometimes brown, VII–X dark brown; legs often yellow, but mid and hind tibiae sometimes brown; antennal segments I, II and basal half of III yellow, remaining segments dark brown. Antennae 9-segmented, segment III with linear sensorium about 0.5 of segment length, IV with sensorium broader and longer, curving around segment apex, V–IX forming a single unit with V slightly longer than VI–IX. Head and pronotum with no long setae; mouth cone long, maxillary palps 3-segmented. Fore tarsus apically with stout recurved ventral hamus. Abdominal tergite I with weak transverse reticulation; sternite VII with lateral two pairs of marginal setae arising sub-marginally, two pairs of accessory setae arising close to (or on) margin, between marginal setae S1 and S2.
Male with wings similar to female; body mainly yellow, head and tergites V–VII with brown mark medially, pterothorax light brown, abdominal segments VIII–X dark brown; antennal segments I–II and basal third of III yellow, remaining segments dark brown; tergite IX without paired claspers.
Over 100 species are placed in the genus Aeolothrips, mostly from the Palaearctic Region but with about 30 from the Nearctic, including the western USA. A. gloriosus is readily distinguished from other Aeolothrips species in Britain by the bright yellow colour of much of its body, although the recorded British specimens were atypically darker (Mound et al., 1976).
This species is presumed to be a facultative predator, feeding on a mixed diet of pollen and the larvae of other thrips in the flowers where it breeds. It is recorded from various flowering trees, including species of Fraxinus, Olea, and Phillyrea [Oleaceae], also Sambucus [Caprifoliaceae].
Recorded from only two locations in southern England, both in the mid-1950s (Lewis, 1961; Mound et al., 1976). Otherwise known from the Mediterranean area, from the Azores and Morocco to Turkey (zur Strassen, 2003), and then east to Iran, but with one recent record from Sweden (Gertsson, 2015).
Aeolothrips gloriosus Bagnall
Aeolothrips gloriosus Bagnall, 1914: 375
Gertsson C-A (2015) An annotated checklist of Thysanoptra (thrips) from the Nordic countries. Entomologisk Tidskrift 136 (4): 185–198.
Lewis T. (1961) Records of Thysanoptera at Silwood Park, with notes on their biology. Proceedings of the Royal Entomological Society of London (A) 36 (7-9): 89–95.
Mound LA, Morison GD, Pitkin BR & Palmer JM (1976) Thysanoptera. Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects 1 (11): 1–79.
zur Strassen R (2003) Die terebranten Thysanopteren Europas und des Mittelmeer-Gebietes. Die Tierwelt Deutschlands 74: 1–271.