Aeolothripidae: Andrewarthaia kellyana

Recognition data

Distinguishing features

Female macropterous. Variable in size and colour; body and legs largely brown (or almost yellow) with no red internal pigment; antennal segment III brown, usually yellow at base, IV–IX brown to blackish; forewing usually pale with area posterior to second vein shaded, but sometimes uniformly shaded.

Head with postocular region as long as eye length, one pair of interocellar setae clearly stouter than remaining ocellar setae; maxillary palp 3-segmented. Antennae 9-segmented, sensorium on III straight, on IV straight but curving around apex, both extending to basal half of segment with no internal markings. Pronotum with one pair of setae unusually prominent. Mesonotum with about 10 pairs of accessory setae medially. Metanotal reticles with no internal markings. Forewing clavus with 12–15 veinal setae. Abdominal tergite I with faint transverse lines medially; trichobothria on X scarcely larger than base of major setae on X. Sternites with 4 (or 5) pairs of marginal setae; at least 10 pairs of discal setae in complete transverse row, but VII with no discal setae medially.

Male similar to female but smaller, antennal segment III more extensively shaded. Abdominal tergite I with two longitudinal ridges; setae on posterior tergites very long. Sternites with discal setae in transverse row, in two transverse rows on IX.

Related and similar species

Known only from Australia, the single species included in this genus is probably, phylogenetically, little more than an unusual species of Desmothrips, in which one pair of pronotal posteroangular setae is particularly prominent, the number of minor setae on the mesonotum and sternites is particularly large, and the maxillary palps are not subdivided into small units. The three synonyms reflect the fact that adults vary greatly in size and colour.

Distribution data

General distribution

Known only from Australia

Australian distribution

Recorded throughout Australia, including Tasmania.

Biological data

Host plants

Breeding in the flowers of various Eucalyptus species (Myrtaceae)

Life history

Adults and larvae are found in Eucalyptus flowers, where they presumably act as predators of larval Thrips australis, the gum tree thrips. The remarkable colour and size variation exhibited by adult females is possibly related to the larval diet. Mound (1967) suggested that the occasional population that comprises only yellow individuals possibly results from larvae that have fed only on plant tissues. In contrast, the more frequent but usually solitary dark adults develop from larvae that have probably fed on Thrips australis larvae.

Taxonomic data

Current valid name

  • Andrewarthaia kellyana (Bagnall)

Original name and synonyms

  • Rhipidothrips kellyanus Bagnall, 1924
  • Aeolothrips hyalinipennis Girault, 1930
  • Rhipidothrips aureus Moulton, 1935
  • Andrewarthathia minor Mound, 1967

Australian Species A-Z