Print Fact SheetThrips physapus

Distinguishing features

Both sexes fully winged. Body and legs brown, tarsi and apex of fore tibiae yellow; antennal segments I–II dark brown, VI–VII light brown, III–V mainly yellow with apices shaded; fore wings light brown. Antennae 7-segmented; segments III–IV each with sense cone forked. Head with 2 pairs of ocellar setae; pair III small, arising on or just outside anterior margins of ocellar triangle; postocular setae I & III longer than II & IV. Pronotum with transverse lines of sculpture; 2 pairs of posteroangular setae, 3 pairs of posteromarginal setae. Metanotum with narrow longitudinal reticulation on posterior half, irregular lines at anterior; median setae close to anterior margin; campaniform sensilla absent. Fore wing first vein with 3 setae on distal half; second vein with row of about 12 setae. Abdominal tergite II with 3 lateral marginal setae; V–VIII with paired ctenidia, on VIII posteromesad to spiracles; tergite VIII posteromarginal comb complete, microtrichia slender; pleurotergites without discal setae. Sternite II with 2 pairs of marginal setae, III–VII with 3 pairs; sternite II without discal setae, III–VII with about eight discal setae in irregular transverse row.
Male yellow, smaller than female; tergite VIII posterior margin with no comb; sternites III–VII with broadly oval pore plate

Related species

The genus Thrips is the second largest genus in the Thysanoptera, and currently includes, worldwide, over 290 species. All members of genus Thrips lack ocellar setae I on the head, and they all have ctenidia on tergite VIII posteromesad to the spiracles. Other characters, such as number of antennal segments, number of setae on the fore wing veins, and number of discal setae on the sternites are variable between species (Palmer, 1992; Nakahara, 1994; Mound & Masumoto, 2005). Thrips physapus is the type species of the genus Thrips. Females of this species are very similar to females of Thrips trehernei, but have slightly shorter pronotal setae. However, the males of physapus are yellow, whereas those of trehernei are brown. Females of these two species have been distinguished by the following formula (Pitkin, 1976b):

physapus - A+2B+C = less than 430 microns
trehernei - A+2B+C = more than 450 microns
 Where A=pronotal posteroangular seta length; B=tergite IX seta S3 length; C=tergite X length.

Biological data

Feeding and breeding in the flowers of its host plants, and in Britain common on Taraxacum, although also found in many other Asteraceae. 

Distribution data

Recorded throughout Britain to northern Scotland (Mound et al., 1976), but less common in Scotland than T. trehernei (Pitkin, 1976b); it is also recorded from Northern Ireland as well as the Republic of Ireland (O'Connor, 2008). The species is known across Europe, eastwards to Iran and Mongolia, and south to Morocco (zur Strassen, 2003).

Family name


Species name

Thrips physapus Linnaeus

Original name and synonyms

Thrips physapus Linnaeus, 1758: 457
Thrips fusca Müller, 1776: 96
Thrips flavicornis Reuter, 1879: 219
Thrips physopus var. adusta Uzel, 1895: 175
Thrips physapus f. annulata Karny, 1907: 48
Thrips obscuricornis Priesner, 1920: 57
Thrips physapus var. flavescens Priesner, 1921: 28
Thrips physapus var. quadrisetosus Knechtel, 1923: 125


Mound LA & Masumoto M (2005) The genus Thrips (Thysanoptera, Thripidae) in Australia, New Caledonia and New Zealand. Zootaxa 1020: 1–64.

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

Nakahara S (1994) The genus Thrips Linnaeus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) of the New World. United States Department of Agriculture. Technical Bulletin 1822: 1–183.

O’Connor JP (2008) A review of the Irish thrips (Thysanoptera). Irish Naturalists’ Journal 29: 20–24.

Palmer JM (1992) Thrips (Thysanoptera) from Pakistan to the Pacific: a review. Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History) Entomology Series 61 (1): 1–76.

Pitkin BR (1976b) Notes on Thrips physapus L., hukkineni Preisner, and fuscipennis Haliday (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) in Britain. Entomologist's Gazette 27: 173–178.

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