Uzelothripidae

Biology

The only known species in this family breeds on dead twigs, where it presumably feeds on fungal hyphae.

Recognition

The structure of the antennae of the only known species of Uzelothripidae is unique amongst Thysanoptera. The terminal (seventh) segment is at least 30 times as long as wide, and the third segment bears a circular sensorium ventrally. Adults are very small, usually wingless, and have the body surface strongly sculptured with a prominently lobed craspedum on the posterior margin of each tergite. The pronotum is trapezoidal, with two pairs of broadly capitate posteroangular setae, and females do not have an external serrate ovipositor.

Genus and species diversity

Uzelothrips scabrosus is the only known member of the family Uzelothripidae, see Mound's Thysanoptera pages.

Geographic distribution

Described originally from Belem at the mouth of the Amazon river in northern Brazil, U. scabrosus has also been found breeding at several sites in Singapore over a period of more than 25 years. Recently four wingless females were collected from Eucalyptus bark near Brisbane, Australia. Despite many searches it has not been found else.where, apart from four females taken near Brisbane, Australia in 2009 (Tree, 2009).

Systematics and classification

The Uzelothripidae is one of eight families recognised in the Thysanoptera suborder Terebrantia.

The systematic position of this taxon is obscure. The forewings bear setae with the cilia arising from sockets, and the tentorium is well developed within the head (Mound et al., 1980). These character states all indicate a relationship to the Terebrantian families, rather than to the Phlaeothripidae, despite the absence of an external ovipositor in females. Uzelothrips may possibly represent a very early offshoot from the Protothysanoptera.

Bhatti (2006) placed this taxon in its own superfamily, Uzelothripoidea.

Families A-Z