Print Fact SheetAeolothrips versicolor

Distinguishing features

Both sexes fully winged. Female with fore wing variable, specimens from Britain have a pale area antero-medially but continental specimens are reported to usually have one long uninterrupted dark band. Body brown, tarsi and apices of tibiae yellow; antennal segments III–IV yellow in contrast to brown of remaining segments. Antennae 9-segmented, segment III with linear sensorium less than half as long as segment, IV with sensorium about half as long as segment; segments V–IX forming a single unit with V considerably longer than VI–IX. Head extending slightly in front of eyes; head and pronotum with no long setae. Fore tarsus apically with stout recurved ventral hamus.  Metanotum weakly reticulate. Marginal setae on sternites arising at or close to margin; sternite VII median posteromarginal setae closer to setae S2 than to each other. 
Male fore wings similar to those of female, antennal segment III with apex brown; tergite IX without paired claspers, and without paired sickle-shaped setae.

Related species

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. The colour pattern of the fore wing of A. versicolor in Britain is usually similar to that of A. melaleucus but specimens of versicolor from the European continent usually have the fore wings with a complete dark area (Schliephake & Klimt, 1979; zur Strassen, 2003). However, the head of versicolor is more obviously prolonged in front of the eyes than in melaleucus, and the male of versicolor lacks claspers on tergite IX. Images under melaleucus in "Thrips of California 2012" (Hoddle et al., 2012) are presumably of misidentified versicolor, and Bailey (1951: 79, Fig. 61) illustrates a similar head prolonged in front of the eyes.

Biological data

Breeding on the leaves of various trees as a predator of mites and thrips larvae, and taken particularly on leaves of Fraxinus (Oleaceae).

Distribution data

Collected infrequently across southern England as far north as Lincoln (Mound et al., 1976), this species is widespread across Europe, from Norway southwards, and then eastwards through the Palaearctic, including Iran. It is also recorded from northern USA (zur Strassen, 2003).

Family name


Species name

Aeolothrips versicolor Uzel

Original name and synonyms

Aeolothrips versicolor Uzel, 1895: 69
Aeolothrips tibialis Reuter, 1901: 33
Aeolothrips tiliae Bagnall, 1913: 156
Aeolothrips similis Priesner, 1919: 80
Aeolothrips maculosus Bagnall, 1920: 62
Aeolothrips maculosus var. costalis Bagnall, 1920: 62
Aeolothrips parvicornis Bagnall, 1920: 62
Aeolothrips timofeevi Zaitsev, 1921: 135


Bailey SF (1951) The genus Aeolothrips Haliday in North America. Hilgardia 21 (2): 43–80.

Hoddle MS, Mound LA & Paris DL (2012) Thrips of California 2012.  CBIT Publishing, Queensland.

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

Schliephake G & Klimt K (1979) Thysanoptera, Fransenflügler, in: Die Tierwelt Deutschlands 66 Teil, G.Fischer Verlag, Jena. 1–477.

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