Print Fact SheetMicrocephalothrips abdominalis

Distinguishing features

Both sexes either fully winged or with wings shorter than thorax width. Body brown, fore tibiae, tarsi and antennal segment III paler; fore wings brown. Antennae 7-segmented; segments III & IV with small forked sense cone (sometimes simple on one or both segments). Head small, wider than long, only 2 pairs of ocellar setae present, pair III small and anterolateral to ocellar triangle. Pronotum wider at posterior than anterior margin; 2 pairs of short posteroangular setae, 5 pairs of posteromarginal setae. Prosternal ferna divided medially; basantra membranous, with several small setae. Metanotal sculpture linear but forming lens-like shape posteriorly, campaniform sensilla present; median setae arise behind anterior margin. Fore wing first vein with 3 setae on distal half, second vein with 6 to 8 well-spaced setae. Abdominal tergites with craspedum of triangular lobes on posterior margins, discal area without sculpture on posterior half; tergites V–VIII with paired ctenidia, on VIII posteromesad to spiracle; tergite VIII posteromarginal comb with slender microtrichia arising from broad bases. Sternites with double row of discal setae, without craspeda.
Male smaller and paler than female; tergite VIII posterior margin with craspedum of triangular lobes similar to preceding segments; sternites with craspeda of triangular lobes, III–VII with small circular pore plate.

Related species

Only one species is known in the genus Microcephalothrips. It is closely related to the genus Thrips, but the prosternum bears a number of small setae, the abdominal tergites have a distinctive toothed craspedum on their posterior margins, and the head is unusually small in comparison to the pronotum.

Biological data

Breeding in the flowers of various Asteraceae, sometimes abundant in crops of sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) [Asteraceae]. Large populations can cause some distortion of Pyrethrum flowers and also Sunflowers.

Distribution data

Probably originally from Central America, but now widespread in the USA, also around the world in the tropics and subtropics.

Family name


Species name

Microcephalothrips abdominalis (Crawford DL)

Original name and synonyms

Thrips abdominalis Crawford DL, 1910: 157
Thrips femoralis Jones, 1912: 4
Thrips crenatus Watson, 1922: 35
Thrips microcephalus Priesner, 1923: 116
Thrips (Ctenothripiella) gillettei Moulton, 1926: 126
Thrips oklahomae Watson, 1931: 342
Microcephalothrips armatus Ananthakrishnan, 1956: 133
Aureothrips marigoldae Raizada, 1966: 278
Stylothrips brevipalpis Karny, 1927: 206
Paraphysopus burnsi Girault. 1927: 2
Microcephalothrips chinensis Feng, Nan & Guo, 1998: 257
Microcephalothrips jigongshanensis Feng, Nan & Guo, 1998: 258
Microcephalothrips yanglingensis Feng, Zhang & Sha, 2002: 167


Zhang SM, Mound LA, & Hastings A (2018) Thysanoptera Chinensis. Thripidae Genera from China., Identic Pty Ltd, Queensland, Australia.