Female fully winged, but both sexes also micropterous. Body dark brown; femora brown with apices sometimes yellow; all tibiae and tarsi yellow, antennal segment III yellow or with apex brown, IV–VI yellow at base or basal half; fore wings pale; major setae all pale. Antennae 8-segmented, segment III with 2 slender sense cones, IV with 4 similar sense cones; VIII with narrow pedicel. Head elongate, projecting slightly in front of eyes, cheeks weakly sinuate with one pair of short stout setae behind eyes; one pair of long setae on anterior margins of ocellar triangle, 3 pairs of shorter setae on vertex (postocellar,postocular and midvertex); maxillary stylets more than 0.5 of head width apart, retracted to about the level of mid-vertex setae. Pronotum with epimeral sutures incomplete; major setae weakly capitate, epimeral setae about 0.5 as long as antennal segment III; prosternal basantra present, mesopresternum transverse. Fore tarsus with no tooth. Fore wing broad, parallel sided. First abdominal segment, pelta, with lateral wings triangular but only weakly joined to median lobe; tube long with prominent setae along lateral margins.
Male with no fore tarsal tooth; abdominal tergite VI laterally with paired drepanae extending beyond segment VII, tergite VIII laterally with pair of small tubercles; tube constricted in basal third, lateral margins with setae.
There are seven species listed in the genus Megathrips, of which five are from Europe, one from China and one from California. However, two of the species from Europe remain unrecognisable, there is doubt about the species-level status of at least one of the other species, and the distinction of Megathrips from the species-rich tropical genus Bactrothrips remains unclear (Mound & Palmer, 1983). With very few exceptions, males of these species have prominent lateral drepanae on the abdomen, and the tube bears prominent lateral setae. A large thrips species for Britain, M. lativentris is slightly smaller than Bacillothrips nobilis.
Breeding on dead leaves, twigs and branches, and feeding on the spores of unidentified fungi in the leaf-litter of Betula [Betulaceae] and Quercus [Fagaceae].
Apparently widespread in Britain, from Dorset to Inverness (Mound et al., 1976), and a single individual has even been recovered from Bronze Age peaty silt in South Yorkshire (Kenward, 1979). Widely distributed across Europe to Asia (Mirab-balou et al., 2011), and also recorded from North America (Stannard, 1968).
PHLAEOTHRIPIDAE - IDOLOTHRIPINAE
Megathrips lativentris (Heeger)
Phloeothrips lativentris Heeger, 1852: 479
Phloeothrips longispina Reuter, 1879: 214
Phloeothrips tibialis Reuter, 1879: 214
Megathrips piccioli Targioni-Tozzetti, 1881: 124
Megalothrips niger Schmutz, 1909: 346
Bacillothrips padewiethwi Karny, 1919: 114
Kenward HK (1979) Megathrips lativentris (Heeger) (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae) from Bronze Age deposits at Thorne Moor, Yorkshire. Entomologist’s Monthly Magazine 114: 25–26.
Mirab-balou M, Tong X, Feng J & Chen X (2011) Thrips (Thysanoptera) of China. Check List 7: 720–744.
Mound LA, Morison GD, Pitkin BR & Palmer JM (1976) Thysanoptera. Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects 1 (11): 1–79.
Mound LA & Palmer JM (1983) The generic and tribal classification of spore-feeding Thysanoptera (Phlaeothripidae: Idolothripinae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology 46: 1–174.
Stannard LJ (1968) The thrips, or Thysanoptera, of Illinois. Bulletin of the Illinois Natural History Survey 29: 213–552.