Print Fact SheetPoecilothrips albopictus

Distinguishing features

Females fully winged. Body brown, pronotum chalky white laterally; tarsi yellow, also base and apex of mid and hind tibiae; antennal segments III–V yellow at base; fore wing shaded medially. Antennae 8-segmented; sense cones on segments III–IV stout, two on III, four on IV; segment VIII constricted at base. Head longer than wide, wider across cheeks than across eyes; postocular setae minute; maxillary stylets retracted to eyes, close together medially; mouth cone long, extending to mesosternum. Pronotum with five pairs of capitate setae; basantra absent; mesopresternum transverse but curving away medially from eroded anterior margin of mesoeusternum. Fore tarsus with no tooth. Meso and metanotum striate, with dots between the striae. Fore wing parallel sided, with about 10 duplicated cilia. Pelta triangular; tergites II–VII with two pairs of wing retaining setae of which the anterior pair on each tergite is straight not sigmoid; tergite IX setae S1 and S2 capitate, about half as long as tube.
Male not known.

Related species

Only two other species are listed in the genus Poecilothrips. These are P. nubilus Faure from South Africa and P. dens Moulton from California, but relationships among these three species remain far from clear. P. albopictus is unusual amongst the British species of Phlaeoethripinae in having a long, slender and pointed mouth cone.

Biological data

Breeding on dead branches and tree trunks of various angiosperm trees, including Betula [Betulaceae], Castanea, Fagus [both Fagaceae], Populus [Salicaceae] and Tilia [Tiliaceae], and presumably feeding on fungal hyphae.

Distribution data

First recorded in England near Ascot in 1971 (Kishan, 1972), with three subsequent records from Surrey (eg., Palmer, 1986). Found from Sweden through central Europe south to the Adriatic Sea, and also recorded from North America and New Zealand (Mound & Walker, 1986).

Family name


Species name

Poecilothrips albopictus Uzel

Original name and synonyms

Poecilothrips albopictus Uzel, 1895: 264
Phloeothrips ornatus Hood, 1913: 165
Cephalothrips harrisoni Bagnall, 1926: 658
Poecilothrips lupini Moulton, 1929: 133


Kishan S (1972) Poecilothrips albopictus Uzel (Thysanoptera, Tubulifera) new to Britain, with some critical notes on the genus. Entomologist's Monthly Magazine 108: 60–61.

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

Palmer JM (1986) Thrips in English oak trees. Entomologist's Gazette 37: 245–252.