Print Fact SheetCompsothrips tristis

Distinguishing features

Description from Cott (1957). Both sexes wingless. Body and legs blackish brown; antennal segment I brown with apex paler, II yellowish white, III brown with extreme base paler. Head longer than wide, cheeks convex and sharply constricted to basal neck; compound eyes narrowed and prolonged on ventral surface. Pronotum with 3–4 pairs of rather short pointed major setae, midlaterals not developed. Fore tarsus with tooth. Metanotum elevated medially, with weakly concentric reticulation. Abdominal tergite IX setae S1 blunt, about as long as tube.
Male varying in size. Large male with fore tarsal tooth large, fore femora expanded and L-shaped; tergite IX setae S1 and S2 equal in size.

Related species

A total of 27 species are listed in the genus Compsothrips, mainly in tropical countries but with seven described from North America. Of these seven, C. hookeri is widespread across the southern States from Florida to California, two species are from Florida, and four species are from various Western States. These species differ in the color of the basal antennal segments, but given that they are all wingless ant-mimics there must be considerable scope for studies on their behavior, as well as their inter-population variation using molecular data. C. tristis has the third antennal segment darker than in any other species.

Biological data

This is an ant mimic, in both structure and behaviour, living at ground level and imbibing spores of unidentified fungi.

Distribution data

Recorded only from California.

Family name


Species name

Compsothrips tristis (Cott)

Original name and synonyms

Oedaleothrips tristis Cott, 1957: 186.v


Cott HE (1956) Systematics of the suborder Tubulifera (Thysanoptera) in California. University of California, Berkeley, Publications in Entomology 13: 1–216.

Mound LA & Palmer JM (1983) The generic and tribal classification of spore-feeding Thysanoptera (Phlaeothripidae: Idolothripinae). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History). Entomology 46: 1–174.