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New Zealand flower thrips - Thrips obscuratus

By N A Martin (2019)

Classification

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Class:
Insecta
Order:
Thysanoptera
Family:
Thripidae
Subfamily:
Thripinae
Scientific Name:
Thrips obscuratus (Crawford, 1941)
  • Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: DSIR Photographers © Plant & Food Research
    Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: DSIR Photographers © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult and larval New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Adult and larval New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Common Names

New Zealand flower thrips
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Synonyms

Isoneurothrips obscuratus Crawford, 1941
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Biostatus and Distribution

The endemic species, New Zealand flower thrips, is probably the commonest species of native thrips. It is found on plants throughout New Zealand from sea level to alpine areas. As its name suggests, it mainly found associated with flowers. As well as native plants, it lives on naturalised and cultivated plants. It can be a pest on some cultivated plants.

Conservation status: common, not threatened.

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Life Stages and Annual Cycle

Life cycle of a plant feeding Terebrantia thrips. © Plant & Food Research Figure 8 from Crop & Food Research Infosheet No3-16.
Life cycle of a plant feeding Terebrantia thrips. © Plant & Food Research Figure 8 from Crop & Food Research Infosheet No3-16.

New Zealand flower thrips may be found on its host plants from early spring to late summer. It is usually only seen on plants that have young growth and flowers and young fruit on which it can feed and breed. Adult females are believed to over winter in plant litter or other suitable hiding places.

Adults
Adults, like the other active stages of New Zealand flower thrips, are relatively long and thin. The appearance of adults can be variable. Adults are usually dark brown to black with a white base to its wings. They have two pairs of wings and three pairs of legs. The head has two antennae (with 7 or 8 segments), two compound eyes and on the underside the mouth cone contains a pair of short maxillary stylets and a single stout mandible. When not used for flying the wings are held over the abdomen. The tip of the abdomen contains the genitalia. The end of the female abdomen also has an ovipositor for inserting eggs into leaves.

Some adults a pale coloured, others have short non-functional wings (microptera). Wingless adults tend to live on alpine flowers.

Eggs, Larvae and Pupae
The female uses her ovipositor to insert Eggs singly into soft plant tissue such as flowers and young expanding leaves. A thin larva hatches from the egg. It is the shape of a tiny pale wingless adult. Like the adult it has three pairs of legs, a pair of antennae and the same structures for feeding. There are two larval stages and two non-feeding stages, a prepupa and a pupa. The juvenile thrips go to the next stage by moulting. This involves the dorsal skin splitting and the next stage pulling itself out of the old skin. The second larva looks like the first larva. The first non-feeding stage, the prepupa, differs in appearance from the larva by having short wing buds. The next stage, the pupa, has longer wing buds and the antennae are folded back over the head. The prepupa and pupa may be found hiding on the plant, but may also live off the plant.

Feeding and plant damage
The thrips feed and breed on leaves, in flowers and on young fruit. Larvae and adults use the stylets in their mouth cone to feed. They puncture plant cells with their single mandible and suck up the plant cell contents with their maxillary stylets. Their feeding kills the surface cells of the leaves, fruit and flowers. Leaves that have been fed on by the thrips exhibit scarring and distortion.

  • Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: DSIR Photographers © Plant & Food Research
    Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: DSIR Photographers © Plant & Food Research
  • Drawing of an adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Des Helmore © Landcare Research
    Drawing of an adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Des Helmore © Landcare Research
  • Drawing of an adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) showing the names of the parts of the body. Image: Annette K. Walker © Landcare Research
    Drawing of an adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) showing the names of the parts of the body. Image: Annette K. Walker © Landcare Research
  • Drawing of large and small antennae of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). The antennae usually have seven segments, but sometimes has eight. Image: Annette K. Walker © Landcare Research
    Drawing of large and small antennae of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). The antennae usually have seven segments, but sometimes has eight. Image: Annette K. Walker © Landcare Research
  • Drawings of full sized and reduced wings of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Annette K. Walker © Landcare Research
    Drawings of full sized and reduced wings of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Annette K. Walker © Landcare Research
  • Drawing of a side view of the ovipositor of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Annette K. Walker © Landcare Research
    Drawing of a side view of the ovipositor of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Annette K. Walker © Landcare Research
  • Photograph of a microscope slide of the tip of the abdomen showing the ovipositor of a female New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Landcare Research
    Photograph of a microscope slide of the tip of the abdomen showing the ovipositor of a female New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Landcare Research
  • Photograph of a microscope slide of the tip of the abdomen with the genitalia of a male New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Landcare Research
    Photograph of a microscope slide of the tip of the abdomen with the genitalia of a male New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Landcare Research
  • Adult and larval New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Adult and larval New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Prepupa (left) and pupa (right) of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae): note the different length of the wing buds and the way the antennae is curled back over the head of the pupa. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Prepupa (left) and pupa (right) of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae): note the different length of the wing buds and the way the antennae is curled back over the head of the pupa. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae) with feeding damage caused by adult and larval New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae) with feeding damage caused by adult and larval New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Old leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged when young by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Old leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged when young by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Old leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged when young by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Old leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged when young by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Recognition

While the typical adult New Zealand flower thrips is dark brown to black with a white base to its wings, the species can vary considerably. Identification of this thrips requires special procedures and taxonomic knowledge.

The thrips is easily recognised under the flower bracts and amongst the buds of New Zealand flax, Phormium species. It is often present in other flowers, even in alpine areas. The damage to young leaves such as those of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium is less commonly observed.

  • Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: DSIR Photographers © Landcare Research
    Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: DSIR Photographers © Landcare Research
  • Adult and larval New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Adult and larval New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Natural Enemies

Several natural enemies of New Zealand flower thrips have been found.

Pathogens
In Auckland an unidentified bacterial pathogen has been found on adult and juvenile thrips living amongst unopened flowers of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax. An unidentified species of insect pathogenic fungus has been found once on adult thrips. The swellings of the intersegmental membrane in the adult thrips and the dorsal swellings on the larval thrips are probably a result of the breakdown of the internal body tissue. The appearance of the adult New Zealand flower thrips is similar to that of adult onion thrips, Thrips tabaci, infested by a fungal pathogen.

Parasites
A nematode, Thripinema sp. has been found living in the gut of New Zealand flower thrips. It is not known how commonly this happens or if the nematode kills its host.

Predators
An Australian jumping spider on a flax plant was observed feeding on an adult New Zealand flower thrips. A predatory sucking bug from another country has been observed feeding on New Zealand flower thrips on outdoor plants and in a laboratory.

Adults of the predatory wasps, Spilomena species catch adult and larval thrips. The adult wasp approaches a thrips from behind, grasps it behind the head in its mandibles, then stings it on the ventral surface. It puts the thrips in cells made in old wood borer beetle tunnels. The numbers of thrips per cell varies between 28 and 72. An egg is laid in each cell and after hatching the wasp larva feeds on the thrips.

Mound and Walker in their 1982 major work on New Zealand Thrips in the group, Terrebrantia, report that the predatory thrips, Desmidothrips walkerae (Aeolothripidae) is believed to feed on New Zealand flower thrips.


Table: Natural enemies of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae), from Plant-SyNZ databas e (2 December 2018). The reliability index shows the quality of evidence for the host association (0-10, 10=high quality).
Scientific NameCommon NameClassificationEnemy TypeReliability IndexBiostatus
Thripinema sp. (Eelworm)Tylenchida: Allantonematidaeparasitoid7unknown
Bacterial pathogen sp. thripsBacteriapathogen5unknown
Entomophthora sp.Fungi: subphylum Entomophthoromycotina: Entomophthorales: Entomophthoraceaepathogen7unknown
Helpis minitabunda (L. Koch, 1880)Aussie Bronze Jumper (Spider)Araneae: Salticidaepredator10adventive
Orius vicinus (Ribaut, 1923) (Sucking bug)Hemiptera: Anthocoridaepredator10adventive
Spilomena earlyi Harris, 1994 (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Crabronidaepredator10endemic
Spilomena elegantula Turner, 1916 (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Crabronidaepredator10native
Spilomena nozela Vardy, 1987 (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Crabronidaepredator10native
  • Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on a flower bud of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the swelling of the white intersegmental membrane associated with a bacterial infection. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on a flower bud of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the swelling of the white intersegmental membrane associated with a bacterial infection. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Two images of larva of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on a flower bud of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the swelling of the top of the abdomen that is associated with a bacterial infection. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Two images of larva of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on a flower bud of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the swelling of the top of the abdomen that is associated with a bacterial infection. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Larva of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on a flower bud of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the swelling of the top of the abdomen that is associated with a bacterial infection. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Larva of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on a flower bud of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the swelling of the top of the abdomen that is associated with a bacterial infection. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • An adult Aussie Bronze Jumper, Helpis minitabunda (Araneae: Salticidae) that was seen feeding on an adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    An adult Aussie Bronze Jumper, Helpis minitabunda (Araneae: Salticidae) that was seen feeding on an adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Host Plants

New Zealand flower thrips feeds and breeds on many native plants as well as naturalised and cultivated plants. It breeds in flowers of many of its host plants as well as on the developing seeds and fruit. On some plants it feeds and breed on young leaves while buds are expanding. They may also feed on young fruit of trees such as peaches, Prunus persica (Rosaceae).

Adult and larvae feed by inserting their stylets plant cells at or near the surface of a leaf or flower. They suck out the cell contents. Their feeding may have no obvious effect on some plants, while on most the dead plant cells discolour the affected parts of the flower. Feeding on young expanding leaves may cause distortion of the leaf.

Table: Host plants of the New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) from Plant-SyNZ database (2 December 2018). The reliability score shows the quality of evidence for the host association (1-10, 10=high).
Common Name(s)Scientific NameFamilyReliability IndexBiostatus
Yarrow, Milfoil, Nose bleed, Sanguinary, Thousand seal, Common yarrowAchillea millefolium L.Compositae10naturalised
Horse chestnutAesculus hippocastanum L.Sapindaceae10naturalised
Indian horse chestnutAesculus indica Colebr. ex Wall.Sapindaceae10naturalised
Marsh mallow, White mallowAlthaea officinalis L.Malvaceae10naturalised
Aromatic aniseed, Common aniseed, Kopoti, PinakitereAnisotome aromatica Hook.f.Umbelliferae10endemic
Goats beardAruncus dioicus (Walter) Fern.Rosaceae10cultivated
Coastal astelia, Shore kowharawhara, Horahora, Kōwharawhara, Pūhara, Pūwhara, Pūwharawhara, WharawharaAstelia banksii A. Cunn.Asteliaceae10endemic
CabbageBrassica oleracea L. var. capitataCruciferae10cultivated
Buddleia, Butterfly bush, Summer lilacBuddleja davidii Franch.Scrophulariaceae10naturalised
Maori onion, Bog lilyBulbinella hookeri (Hook.) CheesemanAsphodelaceae10endemic
Leafy broom, Scented broom, MaukoroCarmichaelia odorata Benth.Leguminosae10endemic
Cigar tree, Eastern catalpa, Indian bean tree, Indian cigarCatalpa bignonioides WalterBignoniaceae10naturalised
Common mountain daisy, Cotton daisy, Cotton plant, Mountain daisy, Matua-tikumu, Puakaito, Pūharetāiko, Pūheretāiko, Pūwharetāiko, TikumuCelmisia spectabilis Hook.f.Compositae10endemic
Tagasaste, Tree lucerneChamaecytisus palmensis (H.Christ) F.A.Bisby & K.W.NichollsLeguminosae10naturalised
Mexican orange blossomChoisya ternata KunthRutaceae10cultivated
Cabbage tree, Giant dracena, Grass palm, Palm lily, Sago palm, Ti, Kāuka, Kiokio, Kōuka, Tī, Tī awe, Ti kōuka, Tī para, Tī pua, Tī rākau, WhanakeCordyline australis (G.Forst.) Endl.Asparagaceae10endemic
Dwarf cabbage tree, Short-stemmed cabbage tree, Ti rauriki, Kōpuapua, Korokio, Mauku, Tī awe, Tī kapu, Tī koraha, Tī kupenga, Tī papa, Tī raurikiCordyline pumilio Hook.f.Asparagaceae10endemic
Corokia ×virgata TurrillArgophyllaceae10endemic
Crataegus ×lavalleiRosaceae10cultivated
QuinceCydonia oblonga Mill.Rosaceae10cultivated
Broom, English broom, Scotch broom, Wild broomCytisus scoprarius (L.) LinkLeguminosae10naturalised
DahliaDahlia sp.Compositae7unknown
Bridal wreath, Wedding bellsDeutzia sp.Hydrangeaceae7unknown
Hauama, Houama, Whau, Whauama, WhaumaEntelea arborescens R.Br.Malvaceae8endemic
FuchsiaFuchsia ×hybrida Vilm.Onagraceae10cultivated
Gaultheria rupestris (L.f.) D.DonEricaceae10endemic
Mountain lacebark, Narrow-leaved houhere, Houhi, Houhi-puruhi, PuruhiHoheria angustifolia RaoulMalvaceae10endemic
Graceful lacebark, Lacebark, Houhere, HouhiongaongaHoheria sexstylosa ColensoMalvaceae10endemic
White tea tree, Kānuka, Kōpuka, Manuea, Mānuka, Mānuka-rauriki, Mārū, Rauiri, RauwiriKunzea ericoides s.l. (A.Rich.) Joy Thomps.Myrtaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
Red tea tree, Tea tree, Kahikātoa, Kātoa, Mānuka, Pata, Rauiri, RauwiriLeptospermum scoparium J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.Myrtaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
PrivetLigustrum sp.Oleaceae7naturalised
Japanese honeysuckleLonicera japonica Thunb.Caprifoliaceae5naturalised
Russell lupinLupinus polyphyllus Lindl.Leguminosae10naturalised
Crab apple, European apple, Wild crabMalus sylvestris (L.) MillerRosaceae10cultivated
Alfalfa, LucerneMedicago sativa L.Leguminosae10naturalised
Large-leaved muehlenbeckia, Pōhuehue, PukaMuehlenbeckia australis (G.Forst.) Meisn.Polygonaceae10indigenous, non-endemic
NgaioMyoporum laetum G.Forst.Scrophulariaceae10endemic
Black passionfruit, Purple granadilla, Purple passionfruitPassiflora edulis SimsPassifloraceae10naturalised
Coastal flax, Mountain flax, Kōrari-tuauru, WhararikiPhormium cookianum Le JolisHemerocallidaceae10endemic
Flax, Lowland flax, New Zealand flax, Swamp flax, Harakeke, Harareke, KōrariPhormium tenax J.R.Forst. & G.Forst.Hemerocallidaceae10endemic
Black matipo, Kaikaro, Kōhūhū, Kohukohu, Koihu, Kōwhiwhi, Māpauriki, Pōhiri, Pōwhiri, Rautāwhiri, TāwhiriPittosporum tenuifolium Sol. ex Gaertn.Pittosporaceae10endemic
ApricotPrunus armeniaca L.Rosaceae10naturalised
NectarinePrunus persica (L.) Batsch. var. nucipersica (Suckow) C.K. ScheiderRosaceae10naturalised
Nectarine, PeachPrunus persica (L.) Batsch.Rosaceae10naturalised
Tokyo cherry, Yoshino cherryPrunus yedoensis Matsum.Rosaceae10cultivated
Pterostyrax hispidus Siebold & Zucc.Styracaceae10cultivated
European pear, PearPyrus communis L.Rosaceae10naturalised
False acacia, Bastard acaciaRobinia pseudoacacia L.Leguminosae10naturalised
RoseRosa sp. 'cultivated'Rosaceae7cultivated
RosemaryRosmarinus officinalis L.Labiatae10naturalised
BlackberryRubus fruticosus L.Rosaceae10naturalised
Black elder, Elder, ElderberrySambucus nigra L.Adoxaceae10naturalised
White mustardSinapis alba L.Cruciferae10naturalised
Apple of Peru, Peruvian apple, TomatoSolanum lycopersicum L.Solanaceae10naturalised
Large-leaved kowhai, North Island kowhai, KōwhaiSophora tetraptera J.S. MillerLeguminosae10endemic
Red cloverTrifolium pratense L.Leguminosae10naturalised
White cloverTrifolium repens L.Leguminosae10naturalised
GorseUlex europaeus L.Leguminosae10naturalised
Purple hebe, Napuka, TītīrangiVeronica speciosa R.Cunn. ex A.Cunn.Plantaginaceae10endemic
HebeVeronica vernicosa Hook.f.Plantaginaceae10endemic
LaurustinusViburnum tinus L.Adoxaceae10naturalised
Broad bean, Field bean, Horse bean, Tick beanVicia faba L.Leguminosae10naturalised
GrapeVitis vinifera L.Vitaceae6naturalised
  • Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Adult New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) on the inside of a flower bract of New Zealand flax, Phormium tenax (Hemerocallidaceae): note the feeding damage to the bract. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Young leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Young leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Old leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged when young by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Old leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged when young by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Old leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged when young by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Old leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged when young by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Old leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged when young by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Old leaves of Black matipo, Pittosporum tenuifolium (Pittosporaceae) damaged when young by feeding of New Zealand flower thrips, Thrips obscuratus (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
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Control

Commercial growers who need to control New Zealand flower thrips should consult their professional organisation for up-to-date advice.

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Information Sources

Mound LA, Nielsen M, Hastings A. 2017. Thysanoptera Aotearoa - Thrips of New Zealand. Lucidcentral.org, Identic Pty Ltd, Queensland, Australia.

Mound LA, Walker AK. 1982. Terebrantia (Insecta: Thysanoptera). Fauna of New Zealand. 1: 1-113.

Plant-SyNZ: Invertebrate herbivore-host plant association database. plant-synz.landcareresearch.co.nz/

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Acknowledgements

The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (Plant & Food Research) for permission to use photographs.

Landcare Research New Zealand Limited (Landcare Research) for permission to use photographs.

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Suggested Citation

Martin NA. 2019. New Zealand flower thrips - Thrips obscuratus. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 159. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. Date Accessed. ISSN 1179-643X.

Landcare Research       Plant and Food