Both sexes fully winged. Body mainly brown with red internal pigment, abdomen paler; forewings pale at base, middle and apex, with two transverse dark bands; antennae brown with segments III–V yellow; tarsi and apices of tibiae yellow. Head wider than long, reticulate between ocelli; ocellar setae pair III long and spatulate, arising close to anterior margins of ocellar triangle. Antennae 9-segmented; segments III–IV with small forked sensorium, segment VI inner margin with long sensorium arising medially. Pronotum strongly reticulate, reticles transverse with internal markings, discal setae weakly spatulate, posterior margin with four pairs of strongly spatulate setae. Metanotum with elongate reticulation, median pair of setae near anterior margin. Forewing first and second veins with few widely spaced setae; costal setae strongly spatulate, wing apex with one stout seta, cilia arise ventrally behind anterior margin. Tergites with median pair of setae longer than distance between their bases; posterior margin of VIII with complete comb; tergite X with no longitudinal split.
The Australian genus Ensiferothrips includes two described species, although a further undescribed species is known from south-eastern Queensland in which the major setae are slender and not spatulate. The genus is similar to Dendrothrips in the structure of the metathorax and hind coxae, also the position of the forewing cilia, but the wing apex bears a stout seta and the costal setae are very stout. This species differs from E. primus in having shorter setae on the posterior margin of the pronotum and also on the veins of the forewing, and in more transverse reticulation on the pronotum.
Known only from Lord Howe Island, Australia
Breeding on leaves
The original specimens were taken on Smilax australis, but the thrips breeds on Trophis scandens (Moraceae), a plant from which in New Caledonia E. primus has been collected.