Female macropterous, with wasp-like waist. Body, legs and antennae mostly brown, femora often with apices yellowish; abdominal segments I–IV sharply yellow with anterior margins variably dark, X yellow in contrast to IX; antennal segments I–IV largely yellow; forewing brown with three clear pale areas, sub-basally, medially and sub-apically.
Head broadly recessed into anterior margin of pronotum; maxillary palp second segment not subdivided. Antennae 9-segmented, unusually elongate; III about 8 times as long as wide with long sensory area formed of irregular scallops. Mesonotum without sculpture on anterior half. Metanotum with no sculpture medially. Forewing slender with apex rounded. Abdominal tergite I anterior margin strongly constricted, tergites lacking sculpture; sternites IV–VI each with two pairs of marginal setae and two pairs of setae laterally on discal area.
Male smaller than female with slender abdomen; antennal segments I–IV mainly brown
Currently 14 species are placed in the genus Franklinothrips, all from tropical and subtropical countries, although more undescribed species are known from Southeast Asia (Mound & Reynaud, 2005). The Australian species, F. variegatus, is possibly only a local form of a widespread Old-World species that is called F. megalops in Africa and F. rarosae in the Philippines. The differences between these named forms are slight, and are possibly associated with the degree of withdrawal of the head into the prothorax in slide-mounted specimens.
Known only from Australia
Widespread across northern Australia from Brisbane to the north of Western Australia. This species is possibly no more than an Australian form of a widespread species from Africa across Asia (Mound & Reynaud, 2005).
Collected from the leaves of various shrubs and trees.
Adults of both sexes run actively like small Formicidae or Bethylidae.