ID Challenge #6

It’s been awhile since our last ID Challenge.  I’ll give 2 pts each for correctly naming the order, family, genus, and species and whatever supporting information you can provide.  Bonus points if you can surmise host plant, location, etc.  Standard ID Challenge rules apply.  No trick questions this time – it’s just about the bug!

Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2011

18 thoughts on “ID Challenge #6

  1. A thrips is a thrips
    And two thrips are thrips.
    Split an amoeba and you’ll get amoebae.
    Species is and species are, too.
    Amoebas can be, but thrip or specie will not do.

    As for the plant, I’ll have to mullein that over for a bit and get back to you.

    • A thrips is a thrips, and thrips are thrips. Your little diddy was so delightful that I’ll overlook the absence of the word “Thysanoptera” and summarily award a total of 4 pts.

  2. Well, it’s certainly pretty minute (it has all the features of a high-magnification image). I know you’ve got an MP-E lens, so if it still came out a bit blurry it’s probably 1 mm long or less. Underside of some kind of moderately hairy semi-succulent plant leaf – maybe spinach or lettuce? Is this on some leafy greens that you bought from a market?

    I’m a bit torn for possibilities. I can’t tell if those are white stripes on the abdomen, or fringing on the hindwings. The forewings are long and narrow, any hindwings would have to be pretty thin to be hidden behind them like that. Hm. Head, body shape, and antennae all look thrips-ish. Well, what the heck, I’ll go with this:

    Order: Thysanoptera (Thrips)
    Family: Thripidae
    Genus: Thrips

    On some greens from the grocery store.

    • Thrips, yes – and the family is right also. But the genus is not right, and I didn’t find it on greens from the gocery store…

      On the other hand, nice deductive reasoning regarding the size (I think you’re learning well how to play this game), so I’ll give you another 2 pts for a total of 6. This moves you into a 3-way tie for the Session #2 lead with Dave Hubble and HBG Dave.

      • Woohoo! That was a near thing, I’d never seen thrips before, and almost slipped up and called it a fly (before working out that it was probably only a millimeter or so long). The whole grocery greens thing was an afterthought, I just thought it would be amusing if it turned out to be true.

  3. Fringed wings make this a thrip (Thysanoptera = Greek for fringed wing).

    Order Thysanoptera
    Family Thripidae
    Caliothrips phaseoli

    But wouldn’t be surprised if it was C. fasciatus or another species.

    I will guess that the host plant is soybean, Glycine max.

  4. It looks like Thysanoptera, Aeolothripidae, Aeolothrips, an adult winged banded predatory thrips. It’s basically the only thrips with the banded black-and-white wing pattern. Franklinothrips vespiformis doesn’t have the same banded pattern.

    It looks like this thrips is on… a leaf. Is it a composite (Asteraceae)? I don’t know my plants, but thrips seem to like them.

    I was just exulting with one of my friends today about the grammatical oddity of the word “thrips”: the singular and plural forms sound the same, but the singular sounds like it’s plural (Friend’s response: “Okay, that’s very nice.”). Also, I would speculate that “Aeolo-” in the family and genus name refers to Aeolus, the Roman king (not god) of the winds, who loaned the bag of winds to Odysseus in the Odyssey and released them at the behest of Juno in the Aeneid. That prefix would be appropriate considering how winged forms of thrips disperse on the wind.

    • Certainly Thysanoptera, but this is a phytophagous member of the Thripidae and not one of the predaceous species. Still, your info on Aeolus et al. was so interesting that I’ll give you extra pointage for a total of 4 pts.

    • Hi Max – you guessed good with Thysanoptera, which is worth 2 pts. I’ll also give you a bonus point for finding a way to work ‘coleopterist’ (one of my favorite words) into a post about thrips 🙂

  5. All thrips look alike to me, but based on the head shape, antennal shape, wing margin hairs and bands, this is certainly a thrips: Thysanoptera. A common name would be banded thrips. Unfortunately, whatever the function may be, banded thrips tend to be, well banded, and bands occur in more than one family.

    Since Ted asks for host plant, and what looks like thrips feeding damage is visible on the leaf, this possibly is the poinsettia thrips Echinothrips americanus Morgan, 1913 (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). Most of the images that I have found for this pest, however, show a distinct white band only at the base of the wings. A poinsetta could be the host plant, but my impression of poinsetta leaves has a different green, smoother, and not so hairy surface.

    So, perhaps this a species of Aeolothrips Haliday (Aeolothripidae), also called Banded Thrips. These are predatory on other small insects including thrips such as Frankliniella occidentalis (Perg.), Thrips tabaci Lind. and mites (any of which may have caused the damage), but also eat wind-blown pollen. Almost all the research is on their role as predators in agricultural situations, and since Ted works on soybeans, I’ll guess soybean for the plant and the texture and hairs look bean-like.

    There are about 80 species in Aeolothrips and 31 in North America (according to the Kaufman guide). Aeolothrips fasciatus (L.) has been found on alfalfa in southern Alberta (Harper et al.1990 – not the Prime Minister and mispelled as “fascicatus” in Biosis) and is widely distributed according to Steve Marshall’s Insects, so maybe it will one day show up in the HomeBugGarden. A. intermedius is another species commonly reported in Europe.

    I’d rather see an Aeolothrips fasciatus than an Echinothrips americanus any day, so that’s what I vote for. If I’m wrong, I have the consolation of having learned something about some thrips.

    Harper et al. 1990. Effect of swathing and clear-cutting alfalfa on insect populations in southern Alberta, Canada. : Journal of Economic Entomology 83: 2052-2057.

    • Others have guessed Aeliothrips as well, and the black-and-white alternating banding on the elytra makes that a logical choice. The pattern is different however (A. fasciatus has humeral, median, and apical white bands, while this has only humeral and post-median). The feeding damage you note is due to this critter, and you’ve correctly deduced the host plant. This is enough to earn you 4 pts, and while that may not seem much for the effort given, that also represents the margin by which you lead the overall standings now – how’s that for consolation? 🙂

      • Consider me consoled – other than feeling dumb for not Googling ‘bean thrips’. Besides, I cleaned up at Catelogue of Organisms on another thrips and only earned 3 pts!


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