Featured Creatures Update: Leaf-gall thrips of Ficus.
We are pleased to announce an updated article on Featured Creatures!
Take a sneak peek with this excerpt from the article: Leaf-gall thrips in the genus Gynaikothrips are originating in southeast Asia infest Ficus. This is not a recent introduction. Specimens collected in Florida in 1887 are in the U.S. National Museum (Denmark, 1967). Watson (1923) listed the genus in his key to thrips of North America. Two species, recognized as distinct by Priesner (1939) based only on differences in the length of the pronotal setae, are established in Florida: Gynaikothrips ficorum (Marchal) and Gynaikothrips uzeli (Zimmerman). However, whether or not they are distinct species is uncertain. Populations in Southeast Asia exhibit considerable variation in the lengths of the pronotal setae, and Mound et al. (1996) suggested that Gynaikothrips ficorum is probably a form of Gynaikothrips uzeli that has been spread by the horticultural trade. Gynaikothrips ficorum and Gynaikothrips uzeli are commonly called Cuban laurel thrips and weeping fig thrips, respectively.
ABOVE: Several life stages of the Gynaikothrips. Black forms are adults, white-yellow forms are larvae and pupae, and white, capsule-shaped forms are eggs. Photograph by Paul M. Choate, University of Florida.
Authors: Joseph E. Funderburk, University of Florida; H.A. Denmark, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Division of Plant Industry; Laurence Mound, CSIRO Ecosystem Services, Canberra, Australia; Tom Skarlinsky,USDA, APHIS, PPQ; and Catharine Mannion, University of Florida.