Female micropterous, rarely macropterous. Body and legs brown, tarsi yellow, abdominal segments II–III clear yellow; antennal segment III yellow with apical rim sometimes brown, IV–IX brown; forewing apparently pale at base including clavus, distal clear area transverse with pale costal vein, apical dark area small.
Head with postocular region as long as eye length, ocelli reduced in microptera; distal maxillary palp segment subdivided. Antennae 9-segmented, III–IV with sensorium curving around apex, weakly sinuous and extending to basal third of segment, with weak internal markings. Mesonotum with only one pair of setae medially. Metanotal reticles transverse, with internal dot-like markings, campaniform sensilla absent. Abdominal tergite I with numerous transverse lines; median tergites with several pairs of setae 0.3–0.5 as long as tergite; trichobothria on X smaller than base of major setae on X. Sternites with 4 pairs of marginal setae and 4 or 5 pairs of discal setae laterally but none medially.
Male similar to female but smaller, antennal segments II–III yellow. Abdominal tergite I with two longitudinal ridges. Sternites with 2 pairs of discal setae laterally, IX with 1 or 2 pairs.
The genus Desmothrips is known only from Australia, with 18 described species (Pereyra & Mound, 2010). D. reedi is probably the most easily recognised member of the genus, with the abdominal segments II and III sharply yellow, and the first tergite with numerous transverse striae.
Known only from Australia
Widespread east of the great Dividing Range in eastern Australia, including Lord Howe Island.
Collected from various grasses, apparently including non-native species.
A fast-running ant-mimic, this species seems to be a predator of mites at the base of grasses.