Both sexes fully winged. Body and legs dark brown, fore tibiae and all tarsi largely yellow; antennal segment III and basal half of IV–V yellow; fore wing brown with base sharply paler. Antennae 8-segmented; apex of segments III & IV constricted and neck-like bearing a forked sense cone; segment VI with base of sensorium elongate; VIII scarcely longer than VII. Head wider than long, anterior margin often slightly concave; three pairs of ocellar setae present, pair III slightly longer than and situated just lateral to margin of ocellar triangle; postocular setae pair I present, pair IV longer than diameter of hind ocellus. Pronotum with little sculpture medially; 5 pairs of major setae present; anteromarginal setae shorter than anteroangulars, one pair of minor setae present medially between posteromarginal submedian setae. Metanotum with 2 pairs of setae at anterior margin, campaniform sensilla present. Fore wing with 2 complete rows of veinal setae. Abdominal tergites V–VIII with paired ctenidia, on VIII anterolateral to spiracle; tergite VIII posteromarginal comb with moderately long teeth arising from triangular bases, but medially with 2 or 3 teeth missing. Sternites III–VII without discal setae.
Male smaller than female, sometimes paler; tergite VIII with no posteromarginal comb; sternites III–VII with transverse pore plate.
This species is unusual within the genus because of the rather broad head, the form of the sensorium on the sixth antennal segment, and the form of the comb on the eighth abdominal tergite. However, each of these character states is variable, as is the body size and the color of the median antennal segments. There are almost 240 species 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 unrecognized variability in size and color of so many species.
Adults have been taken from the flowers of a wide range of plant species, but they have been found particularly commonly between the coiled red petals of Malvaviscus flowers [Malvaceae]. This thrips is considereed a minor pest of leguminous crops in Central America, such as Cajanus and Pachyrhizus (Mound & Marullo, 1996).
Widespread from Mexico through Central America south to Argentina, also southern States of USA and Hawaii (Mound et al., 2016). An early 20th century record from Australia was a misidentification, but in 2006 specimens of F. insularis were collected in Fiji, and in 2007 some were collected in Singapore. It has also been seen from the north coastal region of Timor Leste.
THRIPIDAE - THRIPINAE
Frankliniella insularis (Franklin)
Euthrips insularis Franklin, 1908: 715
Euthrips insularis reticulata Crawford DL, 1909: 116
Frankliniella fortissima Priesner, 1925: 311
Frankliniella fortissima curticornis Priesner, 1933: 49
Mound LA & Marullo R (1996) The Thrips of Central and South America: An Introduction. Memoirs on Entomology, International 6: 1–488.
Mound LA, Nakahara S & Tsuda DM (2016) Thysanoptera-Terebrantia of the Hawaiian Islands: an identification manual. ZooKeys 549: 71–126.
Nakahara S (1997) Annotated list of the Frankliniella species of the world (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Contributions on Entomology, International 2 (4): 355–389.