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*** Note: does its best to include correct identifications of insect photos. It’s always possible that we made a mistake, however, so if you see a misidentification, please contact us and we will correct it. Thanks!

Order Thysanoptera: the thrips — Examples

Tube-tailed thrips, Elaphrothrips tuberculatus
Tube-tailed thrips, possibly Elaphrothrips tuberculatus, subfamily Idolothripinae, family Phlaeothripidae.
□ This thrips is tiny, as seen at left. (And yes, thrips is both the singular and plural term.) The closeups get a bit blurry with such a small insect, but they do show the light-colored “Y” in the center of the thrips’ back — this is the pair of very thin upper wings. Notice also the long, tube-shaped head. The male has beefier front legs than the female, and he uses the strong front legs as well as his abdomen in male-to-male combat: the winner gaining access to females. For more on the fighting behavior, click here.
□ To see another closeup of the species Elaphrothrips tuberculatus, which gives a look at the antennae, click here (
Photographed by: Christian Moratin. Identified by: Location: Kaneohe, Hawaii, USA. Date: 19 March, 2021.
Thrips, family Thripidae
Thrips, family Thripidae.
Thrips are teeny insects (see comment below) with fringed wings and sharp mouthparts ideal for stabbing into plant tissue to get at the juices within. Those same mouthparts can bite through skin, too, and although they do not draw blood, such biting can be quite bothersome.
Photographed by: Thomas Langhans. See his full-size photo at click here. Identified by: Location: San Bruno, county of San Mateo, California, USA. Date: 20 June, 2023.
Thomas spotted it on a seaside daisy (Erigeron glaucus) — not an easy task given this insect’s size. He says, “The circular parts of the flower are less than 1 mm (0.04 inches) in diameter.”
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