Print Fact SheetHoplothrips polysticti

Distinguishing features

Both sexes with wings shorter than thorax width, females also fully winged. Body light brown with red internal pigment, femora brown, tibiae yellowish brown, tarsi yellow; antennal segment III brownish yellow, IV–VIII light brown. Antennae 8-segmented; segment III with 2 or 3 sense cones, IV with 2, 3 or 4 sense cones; VIII constricted to base. Head longer than wide, cheeks parallel-sided, not constricted to base, without prominent setae; postocular setae long and pointed, wide apart; maxillary stylets retracted to eyes, close together medially. Pronotum without sculpture medially, with 5 pairs of pointed major setae; prosternal basantra absent. Fore tarsal tooth small or minute. Metanotum without sculpture medially. Abdominal tergite I, the pelta, with lateral margins confluent with anterior margin of tergite II; tergites II–VII with wing-retaining setae short and straight in micropterae, marginal setae S1 long and pointed; tergite IX setae S1 pointed, about 0.8 as long as tube.
Male tergite IX setae S2 short and stout; sternite VIII with small irregularly circular pore plate medially.

Related species

The genus Hoplothrips includes about 120 named species, but there are no modern identification keys to any substantial number of species. The most common species are known to exist as both winged and wingless morphs. Moreover, these species exhibit considerable sexual dimorphism, and males of the same species vary in body size, with some structures exhibiting patterns of allometric growth. As a result, species identification is often difficult (Mound & Walker, 1986; Kobro & Rafoss, 2006; Okajima, 2006). Hoplothrips polysticti is unusual amongst Hoplothrips found in Britain in that the head has parallel-sided cheeks, the number of antennal sense cones is variable in micropterae, and the pore plate on sternite VIII of males is very small and placed centrally on the sternite.

Biological data

Breeding on the branches and trunks of dead Pinus or Picea trees in association with the fungus Trichaptum abietinum [previously Polystictus], presumably feeding on the hyphae.

Distribution data

In Britain known only from the northern half of Scotland, and only prior to 1964 (Mound et al., 1976) following major storm damage to Pinus forests in 1939. Although described from Scottish material (Morison, 1947-1949), this thrips has also been reported from Norway (Kobro, 2001), Sweden and Finland (Gertsson, 2015).

Family name


Species name

Hoplothrips polysticti (Morison)

Original name and synonyms

Phloeothrips polysticti Morison, 1949: 90


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

Kobro S (2001) Hoplothrips polysticti (Thysanoptera) on the wood-rotting polypore Trichaptum abietinum infesting dead Picea abies in Norway. Entomologica Fennica 12: 15–21.

Kobro S & Rafoss T (2006) Identification of adult males and females of Hoplothrips species (Thysanoptera: Tubulifera) known from Norway, and some deductions on their life history. Entomologica Fennica 17: 184–192.

Morison GD (1947–1949) Thysanoptera of the London area. London Naturalist, Supplement 26: 1–36; 27: 37–75; 28: 76–131.

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

Mound LA & Walker AK (1986) Tubulifera (Insecta: Thysanoptera). Fauna of New Zealand 10: 1–140.

Okajima S (2006) The Suborder Tubulifera (Thysanoptera). The Insects of Japan 2: 1–720.