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Thrips of California 2012

Franklinothrips vespiformis

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Both sexes fully winged, female with a wasp-like waist. Body, legs and antennae largely brown, but abdominal segments II–III sharply yellow except for anterior margins, segment X yellowish, antennal segments I–III yellow, all femora with apices often yellowish; fore wing banded, brown with a small sub-basal pale area, a broad median pale area, and an indistinct sub-apical spot. Antennae 9-segmented, unusually elongate, segment III about eight times as long as wide with long sensory area formed of irregular scallops. Head broadly recessed into anterior margin of pronotum. Metanotum with no sculpture medially, one pair of setae at anterior margin and one pair near posterior. Fore wing slender with apex rounded. Sternites IV–VI each with two pairs of marginal setae and two pairs of setae laterally on discal area.

Related and similar species

Currently 16 species are listed in the genus Franklinothrips, all from tropical and subtropical countries, but more undescribed species are known from Southeast Asia (Mound & Reynaud, 2005). Particularly similar in structure to F. vespiformis is the Central American species F. orizabensis, but that has the forewings rather broader at the apex and without a pale sub-apical area.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Franklinothrips vespiformis (Crawford DL)

Original name and synonyms

  • Aeolothrips vespiformis Crawford DL, 1909: 109

Family placement


Biological data

Life history

Adults and larvae are predatory on the larvae of other thrips species. The oviposition behavior and the production by larvae of a silken pupation cocoon have been described by Araraki and Okajima (1998). Males appear to be rare (Tyagi et al., 2008).

Host plants

Usually found on low growing plants rather than trees and shrubs, in contrast to F. orizabensis.

Tospoviruses vectored


Crop damage


Distribution data

Area of origin

Presumably South America or the Carribean


Recorded widely around the world, including USA (Arizona, California, Texas, Florida), many Caribbean and South American countries, India, Thailand, Japan, Fiji, Galapagos Islands, New Caledonia, and Australia (Queensland & northern Western Australia).