Both sexes fully winged. Body and legs yellow, distal antennal segments light brown; fore wing pale. Antennae 8-segmented; III–IV with sense cone forked; segment VIII twice as long as VII. Head wider than long; three pairs of ocellar setae present, pair III longer than margin of ocellar triangle, arising just within lateral margins; postocular setae pair I present, pair IV as long as distance between hind ocelli. Pronotum with 5 pairs of major setae; anteromarginal setae almost as long as 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, anterolateral to spiracle on VIII; posteromarginal comb on VIII with long, regular, microtrichia. Sternite II usually with one or two long discal setae medially, but sternites III–VII without discal setae.
Male smaller than female; tergite VIII with complete comb; sternite II with one or two discal setae medially, III–VII with small oval pore plate, sternite VII with toothed craspedum on posterior margin.
F. williamsi is particularly similar in color and structure to F. gossypiana, but has a slightly broader head, and the setae on the ninth abdominal tergite are slightly longer (Mound & Marullo, 1996). 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 the previously unrecognized variability in size and color of so many species (O'Donnell & Mound, 2016).
Breeding on leaves and in leaf axils of Zea mays, but probably also other Poaceae including Saccharum. Feeding on young leaves results in streaks on the leaves of Zea mays.
Presumably originally from Central America, this thrips is widespread in tropical and subtropical countries around the world. In eastern USA the species is found from Florida to New York, but in the west it is recorded only from California and Texas, and southward through Mexico.
THRIPIDAE - THRIPINAE
Frankliniella williamsi Hood
Frankliniella williamsi Hood, 1915: 19
Frankliniella flavens Moulton, 1928: 108
Frankliniella spinosa Moulton, 1936: 61
Mound LA & Marullo R (1996) The Thrips of Central and South America: An Introduction. Memoirs on Entomology, International 6: 1–488.
Nakahara S (1997) Annotated list of the Frankliniella species of the world (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Contributions on Entomology, International 2 (4): 355–389.
O’Donnell CA & Mound LA (2016) The confused identity of Corn Thrips, Frankliniella williamsi Hood (Thysanoptera) Florida Entomologist 99(4):683–685.