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Thrips of California 2012

Pezothrips kellyanus

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macropterous; body colour dark brown, tarsi yellow, antennal segments III & IV with apical neck sharply white or yellow; fore wings brown but slightly paler at base. Antennae 8-segmented, VIII longer than VII; III with 2 stout dark dorsal setae; III & IV with constricted apical neck, sensorium forked. Head as wide as long, 3 pairs of ocellar setae present, pair III just inside anterior margins of ocellar triangle and longer than distance between compound eyes; postocular setae IV as long as distance between hind ocelli. Pronotum with 2 pairs of long posteroangular setae, posterior margin with 5 pairs of setae of which the submedian pair is more than twice as long as the discal setae. Metanotum reticulate medially, campaniform sensilla present, median setae arise at anterior margin. Mesofurca with spinula. Fore wing first vein with 2 setae on distal half, second vein with complete row of setae. Tergites without sculpture between median setae, and without ctenidia; tergite VIII posteromarginal comb represented by a 10–20 fine microtrichia laterally but with a wide gap medially. Sternites without discal setae, median pair of marginal setae on sternite VII arise anterior to margin, setae S2 closer to median setae than to setae S3.

Male similar to female but smaller and more slender, antennal segment VI unusually long; tergite IX with pair of small spine-like processes on posterior margin; sternites III–VII each with more than 25 small circular pore plates.

Second instar larva white with posterior margin of tergites IX & X light grey; tergite IX posterior margin with about 10 tubercles and 3 large tubercles laterally; sternite IX posterior margin with many small teeth.

Related and similar species

The relationships of P. kellyanus remain in doubt. One of nine species currently listed in Pezothrips, all apart from P. kellyanus are restricted to eastern and central Europe. This species was placed in Taeniothrips at one time, but has a pair of setae on the head in front of the first ocellus. It shares some character states with the legume-flower thrips in Megalurothrips in which genus it was placed for many years.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

Pezothrips kellyanus (Bagnall)

Original name and synonyms

  • Physothrips kellyanus Bagnall, 1916: 219
  • Physothrips livii Girault, 1930: 2
  • Taeniothrips kellyanus (Bagnall); Mound, 1968: 58
  • Megalurothrips kellyanus (Bagnall); Bhatti, 1969: 241

Family placement

Thripidae, Thripinae

Common names

Kelly's citrus thrips

Biological data

Life history

Larvae and adults feed on flowers, and young leaves and fruit, pupating at ground level. Males form aggregations to which females are attracted for mating (Webster et al, 2006).

Host plants

Breeding in a range of highly scented white flowers in Australia, including Citrus, Jasminum, Hymenosporum and Pittosporum species.

Tospoviruses vectored


Crop damage

Feeding by larvae on young citrus fruits leads to unsightly circum-polar scarring as these fruits expand, particularly in temperate areas of Australia, also New Zealand and several Mediterranean countries.

Distribution data

Area of origin

Nor known, probably Australia.


Not recorded from North America, but likely to be taken in quarantine; Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, southern France, Italy, Greece, Cyprus, Turkey.