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Thrips of California 2012

Dichromothrips smithi

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macropterous. Body dark brown, tarsi and distal areas of tibiae variably yellow; fore wing brown with base pale; antennae brown, constricted apex of segment III pale. Antennae 8-segmented, III & IV with apex narrowed and bearing long forked sensorium. Head slightly wider than long; with 2 pairs of ocellar setae, pair III anterolateral to ocellar triangle and shorter than distance between posterior ocelli. Pronotum with transverse lines of sculpture, one pair of long posteroangular setae. Metanotum reticulate, median setae arising at anterior margin and closer to lateral setae than to each other; campaniform sensilla present. Fore wing first vein with 2 setae distally and 1 medially, second vein with about 15 setae. Meso and metafurca with long spinula. Tergites III–VIII without sculpture mesad of discal seta S2, laterally with transverse reticulation; VIII with regular comb of long microtrichia; X without longitudinal split. Sternites without discal setae, VII with setal pairs S1 and S2 arising well in front of posterior margin.

Male macropterous; bicoloured, pronotum and lateral sreas of tergites yellow, also antennal segments II–III; tergite IX without stout setae; sternites III–VII each with pair of large oval pore plates.

Related and similar species

Dichromothrips includes 18 species from orchids in the Old World tropics. An identification key to 14 of these is given by Mound (1976), and Okajima (1999) provides information on four species from Borneo, including D. smithi. The genus is possibly related to Taeniothrips, in which the species breed mainly on leaves.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Dichromothrips smithi (Zimmermann)

Original name and synonyms

  • Physopus smithi Zimmermann, 1900: 10

Family placement

Thripidae, Thripinae

Common names

Orchid thrips, Vanilla thrips

Biological data

Life history

Breeding on leaves and in flowers.

Host plants

Recorded from various cultivated Orchidaceae, including cultivated Vanilla.

Tospoviruses vectored


Crop damage

Causing leaf damage to cultivated Vanilla in India.

Distribution data

Area of origin



Widespread in the Oriental region from India through Malaysia and Indonesia to Japan (Okajima, 1999); intercepted in quarantine at California from Hawaii.