The patterns of variation in colour and setal form have been interpreted either as representing four species with many subspecies, or as representing 20 species. Allothrips megacephalus is considered to exist as a cline East/West across North America, and three subspecies described from Australia are thought to have been introduced from southwestern USA or Panama.
Widespread across the Holarctic, also in South Africa and Australia, but not usually found in tropical areas.
Presumably spore-feeding, locally abundant in leaf litter.
Tribe Pygothripini, subtribe Allothripina.