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Thrips of California 2012

Frankliniella deserticola

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Both sexes fully winged. Body and legs yellow without any shadings; antennal segment I pale, II–V with apex brown, VI light brown with yellow base; fore wing pale. Head slightly wider than long; three pairs of ocellar setae present, pair III shorter than diameter of one ocellus, arising between anterior margins of posterior ocelli; postocular setae pair I present, pair IV shorter than diameter of hind ocellus. Antennae 8-segmented; segments III–IV with forked sensorium. Pronotum with anteromarginal and anteroangular setae scarcely longer than discal setae, 2 pairs of posteroangulars long; one pair of minor setae medially between posteromarginal submedian setae; posteromarginal setae IV no larger than III. Metanotum with 2 pairs of setae close to anterior margin, campaniform sensilla present. Fore wing with 2 complete rows of veinal setae. Abdominal tergites V–VIII with paired ctenidia, VIII with ctenidia anterolateral to spiracle; posteromarginal comb on VIII with long, slender microtrichia on small triangular bases; tergite X clearly shorter than IX. Sternites III–VII without discal setae.

Related and similar species

Californian paratypes of F. deserticola that have been studied from the Ewart Collection at UCR have ocellar setae III arising between the posterior ocelli, on or just posterior to a tangent joining the anterior margins of these ocelli. This condition was illustrated by Sakimura & O'Neill (1979) for this species as well as for F. ewarti and F. tuttlei. These are currently distinguished by the color of the sixth antennal segment, which is slightly paler at the base in F. deserticola (two female paratypes illustrated here) but uniformly dark in the other two species. The validity of these three as distinct species requires field studies on their host associations. The 24 species in the F. minuta group (Sakimura & O'Neill, 1979) are associated with flowers of the Asteraceae, and are known mainly from South and Central America and western USA. Currently 230 species are listed in the genus Frankliniella, with up to 130 further names placed into synonymy (Nakahara, 1997). This high rate of synonymy has been due to the previously unrecognized variability in size and color of so many species.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Frankliniella deserticola Sakimura & O'Neill

Original name and synonyms

  • Frankliniella deserticola Sakimura & O'Neill, 1979: 18

Family placement

Thripidae, Thripinae

Biological data

Life history

Presumably breeding in flowers

Host plants

Hymenoclea salsola, Malacothrix sp. (Asteraceae)

Tospoviruses vectored


Crop damage

None recorded

Distribution data

Area of origin

Western USA


California, Arizona