T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Thrips (Order: Thysanoptera)

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Subclass: Pterygota
Superorder: Exopterygota
Order: Thysanoptera

Thrips are minute (most are 1 mm long or less), slender insects with fringed wings and unique asymmetrical mouthparts. There are about 6000 species that feed mostly on a wide variety of plants by puncturing and sucking up the contents.
Thrips leap or fly quickly when disturbed. They fly only weakly but the wind can carry them great distances. Their feathery wings are unsuitable for conventional flight; instead, thrips exploit an unusual mechanism, clap and fling, to create lift using an unsteady circulation pattern with transient vortices near the wings. 
Thrips have asymmetrical mouthparts unique to the group. The right mandible of thrips is reduced and vestigial – and in some species completely absent. The left mandible is used briefly to cut into the food plant; saliva is injected and the maxillary stylets, which form a tube, are then inserted and the semi-digested food pumped from ruptured cells. This process leaves cells destroyed or collapsed, and a distinctive silvery or bronze scarring on the surfaces of the stems or leaves where the thrips have fed.
They can be very destructive to garden vegetables and can spread diseases such as Tomato Spotted Wilt Virus and Necrotic Spot Virus. Females can reproduce with or without a mate and lay their eggs in plant tissues.




A thrip damaged leaf.

Thanks to Wikipedia for text and information: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/