Thursday, February 4, 2016

A new thrips: Odontothrips moringa

Thrips are very common insects that most of the times go unnoticed because they are very tiny (1 mm long or less). They are slender insects with fringed wings which feed on many different plants and animals by puncturing them and sucking up the contents.

Although they have wings thrips are not very good flyers, however they can be carried long distances by the wind. The word thrips is used for both the singular and plural forms, so there may be many thrips or a single thrips. You might know this already from the words sheep, deer and moose.

Many thrips are pests of crops due to the damage they cause by feeding on developing flowers or vegetables. 

Today's new species was found in India and named after its host plant Moringa.

For the experts: The Holarctic genus Odontothrips of Megalurothrips genus-group was established by Amyot & Serville in 1843 with type species Thrips phaleratus Haliday (Mound & Palmer 1981, Mirab-balou & Chen 2011). This genus is known by 32 species from the Palearctic and Nearctic regions (ThripsWiki 2015), and these species are flower-living and mainly associated with flowers of family Fabaceae (Xie et al. 2010). The pest status of Odontothrips species is uncertain, but some species are reported to cause superficial damage to the flowers on which they feed. O. confusus Priesner is reported as a pest on lucerne in France and Czech Republic (Pitkin 1972), and also on legumes in Romania (Pustai et al. 2015). O. loti (Haliday) is reported as a major pest on Alfalfa in north China, where it feeds on tender leaves and causes leaf curling, whitening and withering (Kou et al. 2011).

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