Frankliniella occidentalis

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western flower thrips (Frankliniella occidentalis)
Author: Jack T. Reed (Mississippi State University)
Source: IPM Images

Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande 1895) (western flower thrips)

The thrips is highly polyphagous (also a facultative predator of spider mites) and was originally confined to the New World. Since the 1980's it is an important pest of greenhouse vegetables, other crops and ornamentals in many regions. It damages the surface of leaves, fruits and flowers, feeding on the outer cells and causing scarring. Significant economic damage frequently occurs on crops like vegetable (e.g. beans, tomatoes, cucumber or green pepper), fruits like strawberries and peach, as well as on ornamentals. The species is also an important vector of plant viruses like Tomato spotted wilt virus, Chrysanthemum stem necrosis virus, or Impatiens necrotic spot virus.

On the other hand the thrips also feeds on eggs of spider mites and it can delay the development of mite outbreaks. Mite eggs in the diet seem to increase the reproduction of the thrips.

Vernacular names
• Deutsch: Kalifornischer Blütenthrips
• English: western flower thrips
alfalfa thrips
• Español: trips occidental de flores
trips de California
• Français: trips des petits fruits
trips occidental de fleurs

The adults are 1-1½ mm long and the coloration can be variably brownish, pale yellow or reddish. Diagnostic features for this species are listed on the right according to Riley et al. (2011) and illustrated below.

Diagnostic features:
colour yellow to brown
eight-antennal segments
pronotal anteromarginal setae equal
in length to anteroangular setae
postocular seta IV pronounced
tergite VIII comb present and complete
with long and irregular setae

For larvae see Skarlinsky & Funderburk (2016).

Synonyms
Euthrips occidentalis
Frankliniella californica
Frankliniella moultoni


For a review on the management of F. occidentalis see Mouden et al. (2017).