Invasive Species Compendium

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Datasheet

Frankliniella occidentalis
(western flower thrips)

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Datasheet

Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips)

Summary

  • Last modified
  • 22 September 2020
  • Datasheet Type(s)
  • Invasive Species
  • Pest
  • Vector of Plant Pest
  • Natural Enemy
  • Host Plant
  • Preferred Scientific Name
  • Frankliniella occidentalis
  • Preferred Common Name
  • western flower thrips
  • Taxonomic Tree
  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •   Kingdom: Metazoa
  •     Phylum: Arthropoda
  •       Subphylum: Uniramia
  •         Class: Insecta
  • Summary of Invasiveness
  • Since the 1970s Frankliniella occidentalis has successfully invaded many countries to become one of the most important agricultural pests of ornamental, vegetable and fruit crops globally. Its invasiveness is largely attributed to the int...

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Pictures

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PictureTitleCaptionCopyright
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adults. The larger, darker individual is a female, the smaller, paler is a male.
TitleAdults
CaptionFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adults. The larger, darker individual is a female, the smaller, paler is a male.
Copyright©W.D.J. Kirk
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adults. The larger, darker individual is a female, the smaller, paler is a male.
AdultsFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adults. The larger, darker individual is a female, the smaller, paler is a male.©W.D.J. Kirk
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adult, and nymph. USA.
TitleAdult and nymph
CaptionFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adult, and nymph. USA.
Copyright©Jack T. Reed/Mississippi State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adult, and nymph. USA.
Adult and nymphFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adult, and nymph. USA.©Jack T. Reed/Mississippi State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); second instar nymph.
TitleNymph
CaptionFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); second instar nymph.
Copyright©Whitney Cranshaw/Colorado State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); second instar nymph.
NymphFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); second instar nymph.©Whitney Cranshaw/Colorado State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adult, slide mounted. USA.
TitleAdult
CaptionFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adult, slide mounted. USA.
Copyright©Jack T. Reed/Mississippi State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adult, slide mounted. USA.
AdultFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adult, slide mounted. USA.©Jack T. Reed/Mississippi State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adult, showing identifying features. Large postocular setae and with anteroangular setae about equal to anteromarginal setae.
TitleAdult
CaptionFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adult, showing identifying features. Large postocular setae and with anteroangular setae about equal to anteromarginal setae.
Copyright©Stan Diffie/University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adult, showing identifying features. Large postocular setae and with anteroangular setae about equal to anteromarginal setae.
AdultFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); adult, showing identifying features. Large postocular setae and with anteroangular setae about equal to anteromarginal setae.©Stan Diffie/University of Georgia/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); two thrips (arrowed) on damaged nectarine leaf. USA
TitleLeaf damage
CaptionFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); two thrips (arrowed) on damaged nectarine leaf. USA
Copyright©Carroll E. Younce/USDA Agricultural Research Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); two thrips (arrowed) on damaged nectarine leaf. USA
Leaf damageFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); two thrips (arrowed) on damaged nectarine leaf. USA©Carroll E. Younce/USDA Agricultural Research Service/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); the thrips are barely visible (arrowed) in this image, but the leaf damage on a Verbena spp. is obvious. USA. March 2007.
TitleLeaf damage
CaptionFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); the thrips are barely visible (arrowed) in this image, but the leaf damage on a Verbena spp. is obvious. USA. March 2007.
Copyright©Chazz Hesselein/Alabama Cooperative Extension System/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); the thrips are barely visible (arrowed) in this image, but the leaf damage on a Verbena spp. is obvious. USA. March 2007.
Leaf damageFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); the thrips are barely visible (arrowed) in this image, but the leaf damage on a Verbena spp. is obvious. USA. March 2007.©Chazz Hesselein/Alabama Cooperative Extension System/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); feeding in flower in ornamental greenhouse. Michigan, USA.
TitleFeeding in flower
CaptionFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); feeding in flower in ornamental greenhouse. Michigan, USA.
Copyright©David Cappaert/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); feeding in flower in ornamental greenhouse. Michigan, USA.
Feeding in flowerFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); feeding in flower in ornamental greenhouse. Michigan, USA.©David Cappaert/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); foliar damage to bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) leaf. Single thrips present (arrowed). USA.
TitleLeaf damage
CaptionFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); foliar damage to bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) leaf. Single thrips present (arrowed). USA.
Copyright©Whitney Cranshaw/Colorado State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); foliar damage to bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) leaf. Single thrips present (arrowed). USA.
Leaf damageFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); foliar damage to bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) leaf. Single thrips present (arrowed). USA.©Whitney Cranshaw/Colorado State University/Bugwood.org - CC BY 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); foliar damage. Single thrips present (arrrowed).  Michigan, USA.
TitleLeaf damage
CaptionFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); foliar damage. Single thrips present (arrrowed). Michigan, USA.
Copyright©David Cappaert/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US
Frankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); foliar damage. Single thrips present (arrrowed).  Michigan, USA.
Leaf damageFrankliniella occidentalis (western flower thrips); foliar damage. Single thrips present (arrrowed). Michigan, USA.©David Cappaert/Bugwood.org - CC BY-NC 3.0 US

Identity

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Preferred Scientific Name

  • Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande)

Preferred Common Name

  • western flower thrips

Other Scientific Names

  • Euthrips helianthi Moulton, 1911
  • Euthrips occidentalis Pergande, 1895
  • Euthrips tritici var. californicus Moulton, 1911
  • Frankliniella californica Moulton
  • Frankliniella canadensis Morgan, 1925
  • Frankliniella chrysanthemi Kurosawa, 1941
  • Frankliniella claripennis Morgan, 1925
  • Frankliniella conspicua Moulton, 1936
  • Frankliniella dahliae Moulton, 1948
  • Frankliniella dianthi Moulton, 1948
  • Frankliniella helianthi (Moulton)
  • Frankliniella moultoni Hood
  • Frankliniella nubila Treherne, 1924
  • Frankliniella occidentalis f. brunnescens Priesner, 1932
  • Frankliniella occidentalis f. dubia Priesner, 1932
  • Frankliniella syringae Moulton, 1948
  • Frankliniella trehernei Morgan
  • Frankliniella tritici maculata Priesner, 1925
  • Frankliniella tritici var. moultoni Hood, 1914
  • Frankliniella umbrosa Moulton, 1948
  • Frankliniella venusta Moulton, 1936

International Common Names

  • English: alfalfa thrips
  • Spanish: trips de California; trips occidental de las flores
  • French: thrips californien; thrips de Californie; thrips des petits fruits
  • Chinese: Xi hua jì ma

Local Common Names

  • Germany: kalifornischer Blütenthrips
  • Mexico: trips del maiz

EPPO code

  • FRANOC (Frankliniella occidentalis)

Summary of Invasiveness

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Since the 1970s Frankliniella occidentalis has successfully invaded many countries to become one of the most important agricultural pests of ornamental, vegetable and fruit crops globally. Its invasiveness is largely attributed to the international movement of plant material and insecticide resistance, both of which have combined to foster the rapid spread of the species throughout the world (Kirk and Terry, 2003; Reitz et al., 2020). Individuals are very small and they reside in concealed places on plants; thus are easily hidden and hard to detect in transported plant material. They reproduce rapidly and are highly polyphagous, breeding on many horticultural crops that are transported around the world. 

F. occidentalis is species no. 177 on the list of A2 pests regulated as quarantine pests in the European Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) region (version 2005-09). It has now reached many countries, and remains a serious threat to crops in those countries that it has not yet reached.

Taxonomic Tree

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  • Domain: Eukaryota
  •     Kingdom: Metazoa
  •         Phylum: Arthropoda
  •             Subphylum: Uniramia
  •                 Class: Insecta
  •                     Order: Thysanoptera
  •                         Family: Thripidae
  •                             Genus: Frankliniella
  •                                 Species: Frankliniella occidentalis

Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature

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Adults in natural populations of this species in western North America exist in a wide range of colour forms. In early spring, and also in montane areas, adult females are commonly almost black in colour, whereas in summer females are primarily yellow with the median area of each abdominal tergite more or less dark. These colour forms often involve differences in body size and proportions, and lengths of setae (Bryan and Smith, 1956). Many of these colour and structural variants were named by early workers as different species, thus Frankliniella moultoni Hood was applied to dark individuals in California, but Frankliniella occidentalis was applied to light ones. Such practices account for most of the 18 names that are now rejected as synonyms (Nakahara, 1997).

Despite being considered as a single morphologically variable species at present, recent molecular studies have revealed the presence of two distinct genetic types of the western flower thrips (Rugman-Jones et al., 2010). This genetic evidence indicates the two forms are distinct enough to be considered as separate species. However, the two forms have not been formally described as species yet. The two types, which have been designated as the greenhouse (G) and lupin (L) strains are sympatric in their native range of California. Both types have been successful invaders although current records indicate that the greenhouse type is much more widely distributed throughout the world. Given this taxonomic uncertainty, the species F. occidentalis is here interpreted in a broad sense as a single variable species. Nevertheless, economic entomologists should be aware that different populations identified under this name can and do exhibit differing biological characteristics, including capacity to vector viruses, thermal tolerances, host plant preferences, fecundity and insecticide resistance.

Description

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Eggs

Opaque, reniform (kidney-shaped) and about 200 µm long; inserted into the epidermis and mesophyll layer of host plant. Eggs may be laid in leaves, flower structures or fruit (Childers and Achor, 1995).

Larvae

There are two larval instars, which are spindle-shaped, and are creamy-white to yellow in colour. The first- and second-instars can be differentiated by examination of the number and placement of small setae on the abdomen. These setal patterns differ between the sexes for each instar, which also allows the sexes to be differentiated (Nakahara, 1993). Larvae are mobile, but they tend to reside in concealed places on plants, such as within flowers or developing leaves, or under the calyx of fruits (Agrawal et al., 2000; Hansen et al., 2003).

Pupae

There are two pupal instars, neither of which feeds. Although capable of movement, neither pupal stage moves about actively unless disturbed. Depending on host plant architecture, western flower thrips may drop to the ground to pupate (Buitenhuis and Shipp, 2008). The first pupal stage, the propupa has short wing buds and the antennae protrude forward from the head. The pupa has wing buds extending more than half-way along the abdomen, and the antennae curve back over the head. Both pupal stages are usually white to cream coloured.

Adult

Usually less than 2 mm long, the adult is slender with narrow, fringed wings. Females have spindle-shaped abdomens, and vary in colour from yellow to brown to nearly black, as described above. The female of the invasive pest strain is typically brownish yellow with dark brown markings medially on the abdomen. The adult male is smaller than the female, with a narrower abdomen, and is usually yellowish white. Females and males are macropterous (i.e. they have fully developed wings). In California, three colour forms of F. occidentalis have been distinguished, pale, intermediate and dark, whose relative abundances differ according to the season and geographic location. In spring, and in montane areas, the dark form predominates, and in this form the cuticle of the head and abdomen is blackish brown. It seems likely that this dark form is better able to survive low temperatures, but males are rarely dark. With a good quality 20X hand lens it is possible to see the long setae on the pronotum of adults that are typical of this species, but the structural details by which the genus and species are recognized cannot be seen without a microscope.

Distribution

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F. occidentalis is naturally abundant in many wild flowers throughout western North America from southern California (and presumably Mexico) into Canada. In the late 1970s and 1980s, it spread eastward across the USA and Canada. It reached the Netherlands in 1983 and then spread outwards across Europe (Kirk and Terry, 2003). This sudden explosion remains unexplained but is possibly the result of some undetected genetic change in a population on a crop under intensive cultivation and insecticide treatment (Immaraju et al., 1992). Having become well established in Europe and Israel, it spread to the highlands of eastern Africa and subsequently entered New Zealand in 1992 and Australia in 1993. In Australia it has spread through agricultural areas of eastern Australia, but in Western Australia summer temperatures that routinely exceed 40°C may be limiting its distribution to the vicinity of Perth (https://bie.ala.org.au/species/urn:lsid:biodiversity.org.au:afd.taxon:f2ef6b1a-7c55-4901-9435-ae4fe233a108). It is present in southern Brazil (Monteiro et al., 1995), and also in the Cameron Highlands of Peninsular Malaysia (Fauziah and Saharan, 1991), and it is becoming more common in tropical lowland countries. In Costa Rica and Colombia, although abundant in screenhouses where chrysanthemums are grown, it remains rare outside on native plants or crops, whereas in Guatemala it has been reported as a pest of field-grown crops. In Florida, USA, it can be abundant in crop fields but becomes progressively less abundant away from crop areas, presumably because of competition from native thrips and predation (Reitz et al., 2006; Paini et al., 2007, 2008; Northfield et al., 2008).

Distribution Table

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The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.

Last updated: 17 Feb 2021
Continent/Country/Region Distribution Last Reported Origin First Reported Invasive Reference Notes

Africa

AlgeriaPresentIntroducedInvasiveFirst reported: <2001
EgyptPresentIntroduced2005InvasiveOriginal citation: El-Wahab et al. (2011)
EswatiniPresentIntroducedFirst reported: <1999
KenyaPresentIntroduced1989Invasive
MoroccoPresentIntroduced1994Invasive
NigeriaAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)
RéunionPresentIntroduced1988Invasive
South AfricaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1987Invasive
TunisiaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1991InvasiveBecoming more established in outdoor crops.
UgandaPresent
ZimbabwePresentIntroducedFirst reported: <1999

Asia

AzerbaijanPresent
ChinaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced2003Invasive
-AnhuiPresent
-BeijingPresent
-ChongqingPresent
-FujianPresent
-GuangdongPresent
-GuangxiPresent
-GuizhouPresent
-HainanPresent
-HebeiPresent, Few occurrences
-HenanPresent
-HubeiPresent
-JiangsuPresent
-NingxiaPresent
-ShaanxiPresent
-ShandongPresent
-SichuanPresent
-YunnanPresent
-ZhejiangPresent
IndiaPresentIntroduced2015InvasiveEarlier reports of its establishment in India are thought to be inaccurate.
-Andhra PradeshAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)
-BiharAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)
-KarnatakaPresentIntroduced
-Tamil NaduPresent
IranPresentIntroducedInvasiveIncreasingly important as a greenhouse pest.
IsraelPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1987Invasive
JapanPresentIntroduced1990Invasive
-HokkaidoPresentIntroduced1996
-HonshuPresentIntroduced1990
-KyushuPresent
KazakhstanAbsent, Intercepted only
KuwaitPresentIntroducedInvasive
MalaysiaPresentIntroducedInvasiveFirst reported: <1993
-Peninsular MalaysiaPresent
MyanmarPresentFound year-round on Rosa spp. in Htauk kyant, Mingalardon Township, Yangon Division
PhilippinesPresentIntroducedInvasive
QatarPresent
SingaporePresentIntroducedInvasive
South KoreaPresentIntroduced1993Invasive
Sri LankaPresentIntroduced1996Invasive
ThailandAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)
TurkeyPresentIntroduced1993InvasiveHas become more widespread. Insecticide resistance is developing.
UzbekistanAbsent

Europe

AlbaniaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced2001Invasive
AustriaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1988Invasive
BelgiumPresentIntroduced1987Invasive
Bosnia and HerzegovinaPresent
BulgariaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1991Invasive
CroatiaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1989Invasive
CyprusPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1990Invasive
CzechiaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1987Invasive
DenmarkPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1985Invasive
EstoniaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1989Invasive
FinlandPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1987Invasive
FrancePresent, LocalizedIntroduced1987Invasive
GermanyPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1985Invasive
GreecePresent, LocalizedIntroduced1991Invasive
-CretePresent
GuernseyPresent, Widespread
HungaryPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1989Invasive
IrelandPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1987Invasive
ItalyPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1987Invasive
-SardiniaPresent1988
-SicilyPresent1988
LatviaPresent1997Invasive
LithuaniaPresent, Few occurrencesIntroduced1994Invasive
MaltaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1991Invasive
MontenegroPresentIntroducedInvasive
NetherlandsPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1983Invasive
North MacedoniaPresentIntroduced1988Invasive
NorwayPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1986Invasive
PolandPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1987Invasive
PortugalPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1999Invasive
-AzoresPresent
-MadeiraPresent, Widespread
RomaniaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1990Invasive
RussiaPresent, LocalizedIntroducedInvasiveFirst reported: 1980s
-Central RussiaPresent, Localized
-Eastern SiberiaPresent, Few occurrences
-Russian Far EastPresent, Few occurrences
-Southern RussiaPresent, Localized
-Western SiberiaPresent, Few occurrences
SerbiaPresentIntroduced1991Invasive
SlovakiaPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1990Invasive
SloveniaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1992Invasive
SpainPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1988Invasive
-Balearic IslandsPresent
-Canary IslandsPresentIntroduced1988Invasive
SwedenPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1985Invasive
SwitzerlandPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1987Invasive
UkrainePresent, LocalizedIntroduced1998Invasive
United KingdomPresent, WidespreadIntroduced1986Invasive
-Channel IslandsPresent, Localized
-EnglandPresent, Widespread
-ScotlandPresent, Widespread

North America

CanadaPresentNativeNative in western Canada, but invasive in eastern Canada.
-British ColumbiaPresentNativeInvasive in eastern regions of Canada; native in western Canada.
-ManitobaPresentIntroduced1989
-OntarioPresentIntroduced1983Invasive
-QuebecPresentIntroduced1986Invasive
Costa RicaPresent
Dominican RepublicPresentIntroduced
GuadeloupePresent, Few occurrences
GuatemalaPresent
MartiniquePresent, Few occurrences
MexicoPresentNative
Puerto RicoPresent
United StatesPresent, WidespreadNativeNative in western USA, invasive in eastern USA.
-AlabamaPresentIntroduced1981
-AlaskaPresent1956
-ArizonaPresentNative
-ArkansasPresentIntroduced1988
-CaliforniaPresentNative
-ColoradoPresentNative
-ConnecticutPresentIntroduced1984
-DelawarePresentIntroduced1992
-FloridaPresentIntroduced1982
-GeorgiaPresentIntroduced1980
-HawaiiPresentIntroduced
-IdahoPresentNative
-IllinoisPresentIntroduced1984
-IndianaPresentIntroduced1995
-IowaPresentIntroduced1991
-KansasPresentIntroduced1971Native to western Kansas, but first recorded as a pest elsewhere in 1971.
-KentuckyPresentIntroducedFirst reported: <2002
-LouisianaPresentIntroduced1983
-MainePresentIntroduced1984
-MarylandPresentIntroduced1986
-MassachusettsPresentIntroduced1989
-MichiganPresentIntroduced1984
-MinnesotaPresentIntroduced1986
-MississippiPresentIntroduced1984
-MissouriPresentIntroduced1973
-MontanaPresentNative
-NebraskaPresentIntroduced1983
-NevadaPresentNative
-New JerseyPresentIntroduced1992
-New MexicoPresentNative
-New YorkPresentIntroduced1986
-North CarolinaPresent1977
-OhioPresent1985
-OklahomaPresentNative
-OregonPresentNative
-PennsylvaniaPresentIntroduced1976
-South CarolinaPresentIntroduced1980
-South DakotaPresentIntroduced1987
-TennesseePresentIntroduced1986
-TexasPresentNative
-UtahPresentNative
-VermontPresentIntroduced1986
-VirginiaPresentIntroduced1987
-WashingtonPresentNative
-West VirginiaPresentIntroduced1992
-WyomingPresentNative

Oceania

AustraliaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1993Invasive
-New South WalesPresent
-QueenslandPresent
-South AustraliaPresent, Localized
-TasmaniaPresent
-VictoriaPresent, Few occurrencesIntroduced1996
-Western AustraliaPresent, LocalizedIntroduced1993
New ZealandPresentIntroducedInvasiveThe discovery of F. occidentalis in greenhouses in 1992 probably represents a new introduction to New Zealand; First reported: 1934, 1992

South America

ArgentinaPresentIntroduced1993Invasive
BrazilPresentIntroduced1996Invasive
-GoiasPresent
-Minas GeraisPresent
-ParanaPresent
-Rio Grande do SulPresent
-Sao PauloPresent1995
ChilePresentIntroduced1995
ColombiaPresent
EcuadorPresent
French GuianaAbsent, Eradicated1994
GuyanaPresent
PeruPresentIntroduced1974
SurinameAbsent, Unconfirmed presence record(s)
UruguayPresent
VenezuelaPresent

History of Introduction and Spread

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The worldwide spread of F. occidentalis and causes of its invasiveness have been documented in several review articles (Kirk and Terry, 2003; Reitz, 2009; Tommasini and Maini, 1995). Until about 1960, F. occidentalis was known only from the western half of North America, west of about 100° longitude from Alaska to Mexico, and perhaps Central America. An odd exception was the presence of a population on tree lupins in New Zealand, known since 1934, which is assumed to be an early accidental introduction that did not spread to agricultural crops. In contrast, a pesticide-resistant strain was found in New Zealand greenhouses in 1992 (Martin and Workman, 1994). This appears to represent a more recent introduction of the invasive greenhouse strain of F. occidentalis (Rugman-Jones et al., 2010).

Although F. occidentalis has long been a pest in its native California (Bailey, 1933), occasional, accidental importations to glasshouses in the eastern USA on plant material did not establish. However, in the late 1970s there were outbreaks in the eastern USA, in states such as Pennsylvania, Kansas and Missouri, that appear to have established. In the 1970s and 1980s, it spread rapidly across the USA and Canada, both in glasshouses and outdoors in warmer areas, such as on vegetable and cotton in Florida, Georgia and Louisiana.

F. occidentalis was first recorded in Europe in 1983, on glasshouse-grown African violet in the Netherlands. It then spread across Europe and to northern Africa at an average rate of about 229 km per year (Kirk and Terry, 2003). It reached Turkey in 1993. Many of the outbreaks were clearly linked to the movement of horticultural material. It established in glasshouses in northern Europe and also outdoors in southern Europe, where it overwinters successfully. Its initial spread in Europe may have been relatively slow because plant movement was more restricted in Europe before the Single European Market was created in 1992. F. occidentalis reached Israel and South Africa in 1987, Japan in 1990, Australia in 1993 and South Korea in 1994 (Kirk and Terry, 2003). It was first detected in China in 2003 (Zhang et al., 2003).

Habitat

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F. occidentalis is remarkably versatile and opportunistic. Breeding occurs on a wide range of plant species in many different habitats, from lowland to alpine and from humid to arid. This natural versatility pre-adapts the species as a pest. Even the pest strains, which are presumably inbred (Rugman-Jones et al., 2010), reproduce successfully in a wide range of temperatures and humidities under experimental conditions. However, they may not survive cold winters outdoors in northern Europe (McDonald et al., 1997) as F. occidentalis does not undergo developmental or reproductive diapause (Ishida et al., 2003).

Habitat List

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CategorySub-CategoryHabitatPresenceStatus
Terrestrial ManagedCultivated / agricultural land Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedProtected agriculture (e.g. glasshouse production) Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedManaged forests, plantations and orchards Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedManaged grasslands (grazing systems) Present, no further details
Terrestrial ManagedDisturbed areas Present, no further details
Terrestrial ManagedUrban / peri-urban areas Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial ManagedBuildings Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalNatural grasslands Present, no further details
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalScrub / shrublands Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalDeserts Principal habitat Natural
Terrestrial Natural / Semi-naturalArid regions Principal habitat Natural
OtherVector Principal habitat Harmful (pest or invasive)

Hosts/Species Affected

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F. occidentalis is a highly polyphagous species with at least 250 plant species from more than 65 families being listed as 'hosts'. Unfortunately, the term 'host plant' is poorly defined in the literature on thrips. Plant species have sometimes been listed as 'hosts' simply because adults have been collected from them. The concept of 'host plant' is best restricted to those plants on which an herbivorous insect can breed, and for many of the 250 plants from which F. occidentalis has been recorded there is little or no evidence of successful breeding (Mound, 2013). However, the association of adults with various plants has economic importance when viruliferous adults feed on susceptible plants. In its native range of the western USA, this thrips species can be found in large numbers on a very wide range of native plants, from lowland herbs to alpine shrubs and forbs. As a pest it is found both outdoors and in glasshouses and greenhouses, and it attacks flowers, fruits and leaves of a wide range of cultivated plants. These include apples, apricots, peaches, nectarines and plums, roses, chrysanthemums, carnations, sweet peas, Gladiolus, Impatiens, Gerbera and Ranunculus, peas, tomatoes, capsicums, cucumbers, melons, strawberries, lucerne, grapes, cotton and potatoes. In northern Europe it is found particularly on glasshouse crops, such as cucumbers, capsicums, chrysanthemums, Gerbera, roses, Saintpaulia and tomatoes. In southern Europe it is extremely damaging to many field crops, including capsicums, tomatoes, strawberries, table grapes and artichokes, and at least in southern Italy, it has become a dominant member of the thrips fauna in wild flowers. Similarly, in Kenya the species has become a dominant member of the wild thrips fauna near agricultural fields. In contrast, in Australia it has not been found breeding on any native plant species. A further complication in considering its pest status is that in some areas this thrips species is an important predator of plant-feeding mites, such as on cotton in California, and it is then regarded as a beneficial (Trichilo and Leigh, 1986).

Host Plants and Other Plants Affected

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Plant nameFamilyContextReferences
Allium cepa (onion)LiliaceaeMain
    Amaranthus palmeri (Palmer amaranth)AmaranthaceaeMain
      Arachis hypogaea (groundnut)FabaceaeMain
        BegoniaBegoniaceaeMain
          Beta vulgaris (beetroot)ChenopodiaceaeMain
            Beta vulgaris var. saccharifera (sugarbeet)ChenopodiaceaeMain
              Brassica oleracea var. capitata (cabbage)BrassicaceaeMain
                Capsicum annuum (bell pepper)SolanaceaeMain
                  Carthamus tinctorius (safflower)AsteraceaeMain
                    Chrysanthemum indicum (chrysanthemum)AsteraceaeOther
                      Chrysanthemum morifolium (chrysanthemum (florists'))AsteraceaeMain
                        Citrus sinensis (navel orange)RutaceaeMain
                          Citrus x paradisi (grapefruit)RutaceaeMain
                            Cucumis melo (melon)CucurbitaceaeMain
                              Cucumis sativus (cucumber)CucurbitaceaeMain
                                Cucurbita maxima (giant pumpkin)CucurbitaceaeMain
                                  Cucurbita moschata (pumpkin)CucurbitaceaeOther
                                    Cucurbita pepo (marrow)CucurbitaceaeMain
                                      Cucurbitaceae (cucurbits)CucurbitaceaeMain
                                        CyclamenPrimulaceaeMain
                                          Cynara cardunculus var. scolymus (globe artichoke)AsteraceaeMain
                                            DahliaAsteraceaeMain
                                              Daucus carota (carrot)ApiaceaeMain
                                                Dianthus caryophyllus (carnation)CaryophyllaceaeMain
                                                  Euphorbia pulcherrima (poinsettia)EuphorbiaceaeMain
                                                    EustomaGentianaceaeMain
                                                      Eustoma grandiflorum (Lisianthus (cut flower crop))GentianaceaeOther
                                                        Ficus carica (common fig)MoraceaeMain
                                                          Fragaria ananassa (strawberry)RosaceaeMain
                                                            FuchsiaOnagraceaeMain
                                                              Geranium (cranesbill)GeraniaceaeMain
                                                                Gerbera jamesonii (African daisy)AsteraceaeMain
                                                                  Gladiolus (sword lily)IridaceaeMain
                                                                    Gladiolus hybrids (sword lily)IridaceaeMain
                                                                      Gossypium (cotton)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                        Gypsophila (baby's breath)CaryophyllaceaeMain
                                                                          Hibiscus (rosemallows)MalvaceaeMain
                                                                            Impatiens (balsam)BalsaminaceaeMain
                                                                              KalanchoeCrassulaceaeMain
                                                                                Lactuca sativa (lettuce)AsteraceaeMain
                                                                                  Lathyrus odoratus (sweet pea)FabaceaeMain
                                                                                    Leucaena leucocephala (leucaena)FabaceaeMain
                                                                                      Limonium sinuatum (sea pink)PlumbaginaceaeMain
                                                                                        Malus domestica (apple)RosaceaeMain
                                                                                          Medicago sativa (lucerne)FabaceaeMain
                                                                                            Mentha piperita (Peppermint)LamiaceaeMain
                                                                                              Nicotiana tabacum (tobacco)SolanaceaeOther
                                                                                                Orchidaceae (orchids)OrchidaceaeMain
                                                                                                  Origanum majorana (sweet marjoram)LamiaceaeMain
                                                                                                    Pelargonium (pelargoniums)GeraniaceaeOther
                                                                                                      Petroselinum crispum (parsley)ApiaceaeMain
                                                                                                        Phaseolus vulgaris (common bean)FabaceaeMain
                                                                                                          Pistacia vera (pistachio)AnacardiaceaeOther
                                                                                                            Pisum sativum (pea)FabaceaeMain
                                                                                                              Prunus armeniaca (apricot)RosaceaeMain
                                                                                                                Prunus domestica (plum)RosaceaeMain
                                                                                                                  Prunus persica (peach)RosaceaeMain
                                                                                                                    Prunus persica var. nucipersica (nectarine)RosaceaeMain
                                                                                                                      Prunus salicina (Japanese plum)RosaceaeOther
                                                                                                                        Purshia tridentata (bitterbrush)RosaceaeMain
                                                                                                                          Ranunculus (Buttercup)RanunculaceaeMain
                                                                                                                            Raphanus raphanistrum (wild radish)BrassicaceaeMain
                                                                                                                              Rhododendron (Azalea)EricaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                Rosa (roses)RosaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                  Rumex crispus (curled dock)PolygonaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                    Saintpaulia ionantha (African violet)GesneriaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                      Salvia (sage)LamiaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                        Secale cereale (rye)PoaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                          Sinapis arvensis (wild mustard)BrassicaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                            Sinningia speciosa (gloxinia)GesneriaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                              Solanum lycopersicum (tomato)SolanaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                Solanum melongena (aubergine)SolanaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                  Solanum tuberosum (potato)SolanaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                    Sonchus (Sowthistle)AsteraceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                      Syzygium jambos (rose apple)MyrtaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                        Trifolium (clovers)FabaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                          Triticum aestivum (wheat)PoaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                            Vaccinium (blueberries)EricaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                              Vitis vinifera (grapevine)VitaceaeMain
                                                                                                                                                                ZinniaAsteraceaeMain

                                                                                                                                                                  Growth Stages

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                                                                                                                                                                  Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Vegetative growing stage

                                                                                                                                                                  Symptoms

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                                                                                                                                                                  The symptoms of infestation by F. occidentalis vary widely among the different plants that are attacked. On roses or gerberas with red flowers, or on dark Saintpaulia flowers, feeding damage is readily visible as white streaking. This type of damage is less apparent on white or yellow flowers, and these commonly tolerate very much higher thrips populations with no visible symptoms. Severe infestation leads to deformation of buds if the feeding occurs before these start opening. Capsicums and cucumbers that have been attacked whilst young, show serious distortions as they mature. Leaf damage is variable, but includes silvering due to necrotic plant cells that have been drained of their contents by thrips feeding, malformation due to uneven growth, and a range of spots and other feeding scars. Eggs laid in petal tissue cause a 'pimpling' effect in flowers such as orchids. Egg laying on sensitive fruits such as table grapes, tomatoes and apples leads to the spotting of the skin of the fruit, which reduces the aesthetic value of the fruit (e.g., Venables, 1925). It can also lead to splitting and subsequent entry of fungi. However, the most serious effect of thrips feeding is due to the transmission of tospoviruses into susceptible crops, such as tomatoes, capsicums, lettuce or Impatiens. At least five different tospoviruses are known to be transmitted by western flower thrips and more may well be discovered: Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), Impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV), Groundnut ringspot virus (GRSV), Chrysanthemum stem necrosis virus (CSNV) and Tomato chlorotic spot virus (TCSV) (Whitfield et al., 2005). These viruses are acquired by the first-instar or early second-instar larvae when feeding on an infected plant, and are then transmitted only later when these larvae develop into the mobile adults; it is not possible for an adult to acquire and then transmit any of these viruses (Moritz et al., 2004). Virus symptoms vary considerably among plants, ranging from the disastrous wilting and collapse of lettuce plants, through a range of leaf mottling and distortions, to ring-spotting on tomato and capsicum fruits. These virus attacks can lead to the total loss of certain crops (see reviews in Kuo, 1996). F. occidentalis also transmits a carmovirus (Pelargonium flower break virus, PFBV) and may transmit an ilarvirus (Tobacco streak virus, TSV) (Jones, 2005).

                                                                                                                                                                  List of Symptoms/Signs

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                                                                                                                                                                  SignLife StagesType
                                                                                                                                                                  Fruit / external feeding
                                                                                                                                                                  Inflorescence / external feeding
                                                                                                                                                                  Leaves / external feeding

                                                                                                                                                                  Biology and Ecology

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                                                                                                                                                                  As long as environmental conditions are favourable, F. occidentalis will reproduce continuously, with up to 15 generations in a year being recorded under glass (Bryan and Smith, 1956; Lublinkhof and Foster, 1977). Development and reproductive rates are temperature dependent. The total life cycle from egg to egg has been recorded as 44.1, 22.4, 18.2 and 15 days at 15, 20, 25 and 30°C. Each female lays typically between 20 and 40 eggs during its life. At 15°C, pre-oviposition time is longer (10.4 days) than at higher temperatures of 20 or 30°C (2-4 days). Lifetime reproductive rates of 95.5 hatched eggs/female have been recorded at 20°C (e.g., Lublinkhof and Foster, 1977). However, because of faster development times, greater population growth rates are seen at temperatures of 30oC (Gaum et al., 1994). Short photoperiods do not appear to induce reproductive diapause in glasshouse populations (Brødsgaard, 1994; Ishida et al., 2003).

                                                                                                                                                                  Adult thrips may enter closed buds, and eggs are laid concealed within such buds in the parenchymatous tissues; eggs are also laid in similar tissues of leaves, flower parts and fruits. Eggs hatch in about 4 days at 27°C, but take 13 days at 15°C. The eggs are probably susceptible to desiccation and subject to high mortality. There is also considerable mortality due to failure of larvae to emerge safely from their egg.

                                                                                                                                                                  There are two active larval stages and two non-feeding pupal stages. Larvae begin feeding soon after emergence, and moult within 3 days at 27°C (7 days at 15°C). Second-instar larvae are very active, often seeking concealed sites for feeding, and they develop to the propupal stage in about 3 days at 27°C or 12 days at 15°C. When attacked by predators, larvae produce an anal droplet containing an alarm pheromone, which signals conspecifics to disperse (Teerling et al., 1993). At the end of the second larval stage, larvae normally drop to the ground to seek a pupation site. The pupation site varies; most commonly it is in the surface layer of dead leaves beneath a plant, rather than in the soil, or even on the plant itself. The proportion of individuals dropping to the ground depends on plant architecture (Buitenhuis and Shipp, 2008).

                                                                                                                                                                  The propupa matures rapidly (1 day at 27°C; 4 days at 15°C), but the pupal stage usually takes more than a week before the adult is ready to emerge.

                                                                                                                                                                  A newly emerged female is relatively quiescent during her first 24 hours, but soon becomes active, particularly at higher temperatures. Females may live about 40 days under laboratory conditions, but can survive as long as 90 days. Males typically live only half as long as females. Females undergo a preoviposition period, the duration of which is temperature dependent (Lublinkhof and Foster, 1977). Once oviposition begins, females will lay eggs throughout adulthood. At 27°C, females lay a mean of 0.66 to 1.63 eggs per day, but the number of eggs each female lays per day can be quite variable (Reitz, 2008). McDonald et al. (1997) have demonstrated that adults and larvae of this species can survive sub-zero temperatures and still reproduce effectively afterwards at higher temperatures.

                                                                                                                                                                  Larvae and adults feed on the contents of plant cells. They also feed on pollen grains and animal prey, such as eggs of plant-feeding mites, when available. The addition of pollen to the diet speeds up development rate and increases female fecundity by supplying dietary protein (Hulshof et al., 2003). The presence of a species of Erwinia bacterium as a gut symbiont speeds up the developmental rate in the absence of pollen but slows down the developmental rate in the presence of pollen (de Vries et al., 2004).

                                                                                                                                                                  Adult males form mating aggregations on bright, sunlit objects such as flowers. Females visit the aggregations, mate and then leave. At low densities, male western flower thrips fight with each other by flicking at a rival with the apex of their abdomen, but when more crowded this competitive behaviour is less apparent (Terry and Dyreson, 1996). A male-produced aggregation pheromone has been identified that appears to be involved in mating behaviour (Hamilton et al., 2005). Copulation is not prolonged. Males are haploid, produced from unfertilized eggs, whereas females are diploid and derive from fertilized eggs. Most populations have female biased sex ratios, possibly because males have a shorter adult life, but it has yet to be determined if mated females exert control over the sex of offspring (Terry and Kelly, 1993).

                                                                                                                                                                  Climate

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                                                                                                                                                                  ClimateStatusDescriptionRemark
                                                                                                                                                                  A - Tropical/Megathermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coolest month > 18°C, > 1500mm precipitation annually
                                                                                                                                                                  Af - Tropical rainforest climate Tolerated > 60mm precipitation per month
                                                                                                                                                                  Am - Tropical monsoon climate Preferred Tropical monsoon climate ( < 60mm precipitation driest month but > (100 - [total annual precipitation(mm}/25]))
                                                                                                                                                                  As - Tropical savanna climate with dry summer Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in summer) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
                                                                                                                                                                  Aw - Tropical wet and dry savanna climate Preferred < 60mm precipitation driest month (in winter) and < (100 - [total annual precipitation{mm}/25])
                                                                                                                                                                  B - Dry (arid and semi-arid) Preferred < 860mm precipitation annually
                                                                                                                                                                  BW - Desert climate Preferred < 430mm annual precipitation
                                                                                                                                                                  C - Temperate/Mesothermal climate Preferred Average temp. of coldest month > 0°C and < 18°C, mean warmest month > 10°C
                                                                                                                                                                  Cf - Warm temperate climate, wet all year Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, wet all year
                                                                                                                                                                  Cs - Warm temperate climate with dry summer Preferred Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry summers
                                                                                                                                                                  Cw - Warm temperate climate with dry winter Preferred Warm temperate climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, Cold average temp. > 0°C, dry winters)
                                                                                                                                                                  D - Continental/Microthermal climate Tolerated Continental/Microthermal climate (Average temp. of coldest month < 0°C, mean warmest month > 10°C)
                                                                                                                                                                  Df - Continental climate, wet all year Tolerated Continental climate, wet all year (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, wet all year)
                                                                                                                                                                  Dw - Continental climate with dry winter Tolerated Continental climate with dry winter (Warm average temp. > 10°C, coldest month < 0°C, dry winters)

                                                                                                                                                                  Latitude/Altitude Ranges

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                                                                                                                                                                  Latitude North (°N)Latitude South (°S)Altitude Lower (m)Altitude Upper (m)
                                                                                                                                                                  55 50

                                                                                                                                                                  Air Temperature

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                                                                                                                                                                  Parameter Lower limit Upper limit
                                                                                                                                                                  Mean maximum temperature of hottest month (ºC) 41
                                                                                                                                                                  Mean minimum temperature of coldest month (ºC) -14

                                                                                                                                                                  Natural enemies

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                                                                                                                                                                  Natural enemyTypeLife stagesSpecificityReferencesBiological control inBiological control on
                                                                                                                                                                  Amblyseius barkeri Predator Larvae Ramakers et al. (1989)
                                                                                                                                                                  Amblyseius degenerans Predator Larvae Houten and Stratum (1995)
                                                                                                                                                                  Amblyseius limonicus Predator Larvae Netherlands
                                                                                                                                                                  Amblyseius swirskii Predator Larvae not specific Calvo et al. (2010) glasshouse crops
                                                                                                                                                                  Beauveria bassiana Pathogen Adults/Larvae/Pupae Butt and Brownbridge (1997)
                                                                                                                                                                  Ceranisus americensis Parasite Larvae Loomans (2006)
                                                                                                                                                                  Ceranisus lepidotus Parasite Larvae Lacasa et al. (1996)
                                                                                                                                                                  Ceranisus menes Parasite Larvae Loomans (2006)
                                                                                                                                                                  Dicyphus tamaninii Predator Adults/Larvae Castañé et al. (1996)
                                                                                                                                                                  Geocoris pallens Predator Adults/Larvae Schoenig and Wilson (1992)
                                                                                                                                                                  Geocoris punctipes Predator Adults/Larvae Reitz et al. (2003) USA Capsicum
                                                                                                                                                                  Grandjeanella multisetosa Parasite Adults/Larvae Goldarazena et al. (2000)
                                                                                                                                                                  Hypoaspis aculeifer Predator Pupae Premachandra et al. (2003)
                                                                                                                                                                  Hypoaspis miles Predator Pupae Berndt et al. (2004)
                                                                                                                                                                  Lecanicillium lecanii Pathogen Adults/Larvae/Pupae Gouli et al. (2009)
                                                                                                                                                                  Macrolophus caliginosus Predator Adults/Larvae Riudavets and Castañé (1998)
                                                                                                                                                                  Macrolophus rubi Predator Larvae
                                                                                                                                                                  Neoseiulus cucumeris Predator Larvae Gillespie (1989)
                                                                                                                                                                  Neozygites parvispora Pathogen Adults/Larvae Vacante et al. (1994)
                                                                                                                                                                  Orius albidipennis Predator Adults/Larvae Chyzik and Orna Ucko (2002)
                                                                                                                                                                  Orius insidiosus Predator Adults/Larvae Demirozer et al. (2012); Reitz et al. (2003) USA Capsicum, aubergine
                                                                                                                                                                  Orius laevigatus Predator Adults/Larvae Sanchez and Lacasa (2006) Spain Capsicum
                                                                                                                                                                  Orius majusculus Predator Adults/Larvae Blaeser et al. (2004)
                                                                                                                                                                  Orius niger Predator Adults/Larvae Atakan (2006) Turkey cotton
                                                                                                                                                                  Orius tristicolor Predator Adults/Larvae Higgins (1992) Canada Greenhouse vegetables
                                                                                                                                                                  Steinernema feltiae Parasite Adults/Larvae/Pupae Buitenhuis and Shipp (2005)
                                                                                                                                                                  Thripinema nicklewoodii Parasite Lim et al. (2001)
                                                                                                                                                                  Typhlodromips lailae Predator Larvae Steiner et al. (2003)
                                                                                                                                                                  Typhlodromips montdorensis Predator Larvae Steiner and Enkegaard (2002) Australia strawberry

                                                                                                                                                                  Notes on Natural Enemies

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                                                                                                                                                                  Various species of the worldwide anthocorid genus Orius are used in biological control against thrips, and these bugs are important as predators in many natural populations. Sabelis and van Rijn, in Lewis (1997) review the range of Hemiptera and other insects, spiders and mites that have been reported as attacking thrips. Amblyseius swirskii and Neoseiulus cucumeris are two of the most widely used predatory mites in the biological control of F. occidentalis. Control with hymenopterous parasites has been less effective, although the polyphagous eulophid, Ceranisus menes, has been used in several countries with varying levels of success (Loomans et al., 1995). Fungal pathogens and nematodes, such as Beauveria bassiana and Steinernema feltiae, are also being used commercially (Murphy et al., 1988; Buitenhuis and Shipp, 2005). The high level of insecticide resistance shown by F. occidentalis and the withdrawal of many insecticides on safety grounds is driving the search for further natural enemies that can be exploited for biological (Reitz and Funderburk, 2012). Recent research has shown that some native species of thrips can outcompete invasive western flower thrips and thus act to reduce the development of western flower thrips populations (Paini et al., 2008; Demirozer et al., 2012).

                                                                                                                                                                  Further information on the natural enemies of F. occidentalis may be found in Sabelis and van Rijn (1997).

                                                                                                                                                                  Means of Movement and Dispersal

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                                                                                                                                                                  The movement of F. occidentalis is probably by human-assisted transport and natural dispersal once established in a new geographic area.

                                                                                                                                                                  Natural dispersal

                                                                                                                                                                  The timing of discoveries of F. occidentalis and Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) across the southern USA suggest that it may have naturally dispersed across eastern Texas and several southern states of the USA (Kirk and Terry, 2003). After F. occidentalis became established in the Netherlands, Kirk and Terry (2003) estimated its continued spread within Europe at a rate of 229 km per year.

                                                                                                                                                                  Accidental introduction

                                                                                                                                                                  Most invasions of F. occidentalis have been associated with its transport on infested plant material (Frey, 1993; Morse and Hoddle, 2006). It is routinely intercepted in plant shipments (Nickle, 2003; Vierbergen, 1995). Frey (1993) found that 12% of plants imported into Switzerland were infested with F. occidentalis.

                                                                                                                                                                  Pathway Causes

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                                                                                                                                                                  CauseNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
                                                                                                                                                                  Crop production Yes Yes
                                                                                                                                                                  Cut flower trade Yes Yes
                                                                                                                                                                  HitchhikerInadvertently transported in infested plant material. Yes Yes Nickle (2003); Vierbergen (1995)
                                                                                                                                                                  HorticultureInadvertently transported in infested plant material. Commonly intercepted on transported plant mate Yes Yes Nickle (2003); Vierbergen (1995)
                                                                                                                                                                  Nursery tradeInadvertently transported in infested plant material. Commonly intercepted on transported plant mate Yes Yes Nickle (2003); Vierbergen (1995)
                                                                                                                                                                  Self-propelledAdults are capable of flight and long range dispersal on wind currents. Yes Mound (1983)

                                                                                                                                                                  Pathway Vectors

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                                                                                                                                                                  VectorNotesLong DistanceLocalReferences
                                                                                                                                                                  AircraftCommonly infests cut flowers that are shipped by air. Yes Nickle (2003); Vierbergen (1995)
                                                                                                                                                                  Plants or parts of plantsCommonly transported locally and over long distances on cut flowers, transplants, ornamental plants. Yes Yes Mound (1983)

                                                                                                                                                                  Plant Trade

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                                                                                                                                                                  Plant parts liable to carry the pest in trade/transportPest stagesBorne internallyBorne externallyVisibility of pest or symptoms
                                                                                                                                                                  Flowers/Inflorescences/Cones/Calyx adults; eggs; larvae; pupae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
                                                                                                                                                                  Fruits (inc. pods) adults; eggs; larvae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
                                                                                                                                                                  Growing medium accompanying plants pupae Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
                                                                                                                                                                  Leaves adults; eggs; larvae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
                                                                                                                                                                  Seedlings/Micropropagated plants adults; eggs; larvae Yes Yes Pest or symptoms not visible to the naked eye but usually visible under light microscope
                                                                                                                                                                  Plant parts not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
                                                                                                                                                                  Bark
                                                                                                                                                                  Bulbs/Tubers/Corms/Rhizomes
                                                                                                                                                                  Roots
                                                                                                                                                                  Stems (above ground)/Shoots/Trunks/Branches
                                                                                                                                                                  True seeds (inc. grain)
                                                                                                                                                                  Wood

                                                                                                                                                                  Wood Packaging

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                                                                                                                                                                  Wood Packaging not known to carry the pest in trade/transport
                                                                                                                                                                  Loose wood packing material
                                                                                                                                                                  Non-wood
                                                                                                                                                                  Processed or treated wood
                                                                                                                                                                  Solid wood packing material with bark
                                                                                                                                                                  Solid wood packing material without bark

                                                                                                                                                                  Impact Summary

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                                                                                                                                                                  CategoryImpact
                                                                                                                                                                  Animal/plant collections None
                                                                                                                                                                  Animal/plant products None
                                                                                                                                                                  Biodiversity (generally) None
                                                                                                                                                                  Crop production Negative
                                                                                                                                                                  Cultural/amenity Negative
                                                                                                                                                                  Economic/livelihood Negative
                                                                                                                                                                  Environment (generally) Negative
                                                                                                                                                                  Fisheries / aquaculture None
                                                                                                                                                                  Forestry production None
                                                                                                                                                                  Human health None
                                                                                                                                                                  Livestock production None
                                                                                                                                                                  Native fauna None
                                                                                                                                                                  Native flora None
                                                                                                                                                                  Rare/protected species None
                                                                                                                                                                  Tourism None
                                                                                                                                                                  Trade/international relations None
                                                                                                                                                                  Transport/travel None

                                                                                                                                                                  Impact

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                                                                                                                                                                  F. occidentalis affects commercial plant production in various ways, directly by reducing yield and market quality, whether through feeding damage or by the transmission of virus pathogens, but also indirectly when the mere presence of thrips on a crop is used as a reason for denying it entry to a profitable market.

                                                                                                                                                                  Systematic national records of crop damage are not kept and growers are reluctant to publicise that they have a pest problem or that they have suffered a large economic loss, so figures for economic impact are hard to obtain. Losses range from total loss of a crop to minor yield reductions, and from serious financial losses as a result of down-grading following superficial damage to fruit to minor reductions in profits through the targeting of less sensitive markets.

                                                                                                                                                                  In some crops, including rose flowers, strawberries, capsicums and cucumbers, it is the marketable product that is physically attacked by thrips resulting in direct losses due to down-grading. In other crops, attack is more insidious, whether due to leaf damage, or due to the introduction of tospoviruses leading to weaker plants and yield reductions. Sometimes entire crops are lost to virus attacks vectored by thrips, such as Impatiens in glasshouses, and lettuces, capsicums and tomatoes out of doors. The worst attacks are commonly associated with poor crop hygiene, where a grower has failed to recognize the relationship between a susceptible crop and a weed as a source of infection (Cho et al., 1986). Indeed, all too frequently a susceptible crop can be seen newly planted alongside some other crop that is seriously infected but not yet harvested. In contrast, some careful growers mass produce even the most susceptible of crops, such as New Guinea Impatiens, with no losses due to thrips or tospoviruses because their attention to crop hygiene and glasshouse construction is so meticulous.

                                                                                                                                                                  A vast amount of crop damage has been caused by F. occidentalis since it began to spread in the late 1970s. It is one of the most important insect pests of most glasshouse crops worldwide (Cloyd, 2009) and it is also a major pest of some outdoor crops in warm climates. For example, it is one of the most serious pests of Phaseolus vulgaris in Kenya (Gitonga et al., 2002) and fruiting vegetables in Florida USA (Demirozer et al., 2012; Reitz and Funderburk, 2012).

                                                                                                                                                                  Losses are usually very high when F. occidentalis first arrives in a country, but go down gradually as growers adjust and new pest management methods are developed. The effects are more serious when thrips populations carry virus. Outbreaks can cause complete crop loss. For example, a grower on the east coast of the USA lost a crop with a wholesale value of US$150,000 after an outbreak of Impatiens necrotic spot virus on Exacum transmitted by F. occidentalis from infected begonias (Daughtrey et al., 1997). A few national estimates of damage have been produced. In the Netherlands, the predicted annual cost to the country of F. occidentalis was estimated to be US$30 million, excluding the effects of Tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV), and a further US$19 million from TSWV (Roosjen et al., 1998). This included both crop loss and costs of treatment. In Finland, eradication measures from 1987-1990 cost the government US$0.23 million, which was mainly to compensate growers for crop destruction. Even though F. occidentalis has not been eradicated, it is estimated that the cost of its damage to the industry would have been US$1.3 million per year if the eradication campaign had not taken place (Rautapää, 1992). Worldwide, crop damage from tospoviruses transmitted by F. occidentalis probably exceeds US$1 billion per year (Goldbach and Peters, 1994).

                                                                                                                                                                  Economic Impact

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                                                                                                                                                                  There is increased use of insecticides in areas where F. occidentalis has become an agricultural pest. This increased use of insecticides has led to the development of insecticide resistance within populations of F. occidentalis and the disruption of IPM programmes for other pests (Bielza et al., 2008; Demirozer et al., 2012). In addition to the increased costs of production, growers may experience the loss of crop markets and capital due to quarantine requirements.

                                                                                                                                                                  Environmental Impact

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                                                                                                                                                                  The overuse of insecticides in attempts to control F. occidentalis reduces the abundance of natural enemies that provide biological control in agroecosystems (Reitz et al., 2003) which can lead to further outbreaks of the pest. The loss of natural enemies also disrupts management programmes for other pests, leading to secondary outbreaks (Morse and Hoddle, 2006).  

                                                                                                                                                                  Social Impact

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                                                                                                                                                                  F. occidentalis is a serious pest of many crops. It is regarded as the most important pest of greenhouse-grown ornamental flowers (Cloyd, 2009). Growers of ornamental plants, as well as vegetable and fruit crops, may incur great costs in managing F. occidentalis. Despite efforts to control the pest, direct feeding damage and tospovirus transmission frequently lead to significant crop losses and complete crop failures (Morse and Hoddle, 2006).

                                                                                                                                                                  Risk and Impact Factors

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                                                                                                                                                                  Invasiveness
                                                                                                                                                                  • Invasive in its native range
                                                                                                                                                                  • Proved invasive outside its native range
                                                                                                                                                                  • Has a broad native range
                                                                                                                                                                  • Abundant in its native range
                                                                                                                                                                  • Highly adaptable to different environments
                                                                                                                                                                  • Is a habitat generalist
                                                                                                                                                                  • Tolerates, or benefits from, cultivation, browsing pressure, mutilation, fire etc
                                                                                                                                                                  • Pioneering in disturbed areas
                                                                                                                                                                  • Capable of securing and ingesting a wide range of food
                                                                                                                                                                  • Highly mobile locally
                                                                                                                                                                  • Benefits from human association (i.e. it is a human commensal)
                                                                                                                                                                  • Gregarious
                                                                                                                                                                  • Reproduces asexually
                                                                                                                                                                  • Has high genetic variability
                                                                                                                                                                  Impact outcomes
                                                                                                                                                                  • Ecosystem change/ habitat alteration
                                                                                                                                                                  • Host damage
                                                                                                                                                                  • Negatively impacts agriculture
                                                                                                                                                                  • Negatively impacts cultural/traditional practices
                                                                                                                                                                  • Negatively impacts livelihoods
                                                                                                                                                                  • Reduced amenity values
                                                                                                                                                                  • Negatively impacts trade/international relations
                                                                                                                                                                  Impact mechanisms
                                                                                                                                                                  • Competition - monopolizing resources
                                                                                                                                                                  • Pest and disease transmission
                                                                                                                                                                  • Herbivory/grazing/browsing
                                                                                                                                                                  • Interaction with other invasive species
                                                                                                                                                                  • Predation
                                                                                                                                                                  • Rapid growth
                                                                                                                                                                  Likelihood of entry/control
                                                                                                                                                                  • Highly likely to be transported internationally accidentally
                                                                                                                                                                  • Difficult to identify/detect as a commodity contaminant
                                                                                                                                                                  • Difficult to identify/detect in the field
                                                                                                                                                                  • Difficult/costly to control

                                                                                                                                                                  Uses

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                                                                                                                                                                  In contrast to the normal pest status of F. occidentalis, it is seen as a beneficial predator of spider mite eggs on cotton in the USA (Wilson et al., 1991). However, it can cause severe damage to seedling cotton (Greenberg et al., 2009).

                                                                                                                                                                  Uses List

                                                                                                                                                                  Top of page

                                                                                                                                                                  Environmental

                                                                                                                                                                  • Biological control

                                                                                                                                                                  Detection and Inspection

                                                                                                                                                                  Top of page

                                                                                                                                                                  The majority of thrips species are so small and cryptic that, except when present in very large numbers, many inspectors and commercial operators may fail to detect them. Adults and larvae are able to hide in concealed places on plants such as beneath plant hairs, within tight buds, enclosed in developing leaves, or underneath the calyx of fruits. Eggs are laid concealed within plant tissues. Casual inspection may thus not reveal the presence of thrips, and even insecticide treatment may be ineffective because the chemical fails to contact the hidden thrips. Effective detection methods have yet to be deployed by most quarantine inspection systems, reliance usually being placed on inspection for feeding damage and simple beating to reveal thrips. However, adult and larval thrips can be extracted from plant material within two or three minutes if a sample is placed in a small Tullgren Funnel using turpentine as an irritant rather than light; the living thrips then run down into a glass tube at the bottom of the funnel where they are readily observed and counted.

                                                                                                                                                                  Infestation levels in glasshouse crops are usually monitored by means of blue or yellow sticky traps. One shade of blue is particularly attractive to flying adult thrips and is widely used for monitoring the species (Brødsgaard, 1989a). Pheromone lures that attract males and females are now available to increase the sensitivity of monitoring at low levels of infestation or in easily damaged crops (Hamilton et al., 2005). Thrips can also be monitored by extracting thrips from flowers and recording their numbers or the percentage occupancy of flowers (Navas et al., 1994; Steiner and Goodwin, 2005). Western flower thrips adults are easily carried into glasshouses by wind, as well as on the clothes or in the hair of working personnel, thus making re-infestation from surrounding weeds a constant probability. Indeed, weed control around a crop, whether inside a glasshouse or on surrounding land, is the first measure to be adopted in any control strategy. Thrips are also easily carried on equipment and containers that have not been properly cleaned, and infestations in sterile laboratories with filtered air are usually due to thrips being carried in on the clothes and hair of workers. Nationally and internationally, F. occidentalis is readily transported to new areas on all types of planting material as well as on cut flowers, both commercial and domestic (Vierbergen, 1995).

                                                                                                                                                                  Similarities to Other Species/Conditions

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                                                                                                                                                                  Adults of most of the 159 species now recognized in the genus Frankliniella have two pairs of long setae on the anterior margin of the pronotum and two pairs on the posterior angles of the pronotum. All of the species have two complete rows of setae on each forewing (i.e. the setae are regularly spaced along each forewing), and three pairs of setae on the head in association with the ocelli, including one pair in front of the first ocellus. An essential diagnostic character is the presence of a ctenidium laterally on the eighth abdominal tergite; this is a comb-like row of microtrichia that in Frankliniella species always lies just in front of each spiracle (it lies behind the spiracle in members of Thrips genus). A full diagnosis of the genus, and a key to help identify 80 species from Central America and the Caribbean, is given by Mound and Marullo (1996). Species identification in Frankliniella is particularly difficult, and unfortunately, the key to world species by Moulton (1948) is misleading and full of errors, but Nakahara (1997) has listed all the species of this genus, together with their current synonymies. The species F. occidentalis has no unusual distinguishing features, indeed in structure it is one of the most generalised of all the species within the genus. It is most similar to the Central American species, F. panamensis, which differs only in being consistently dark and having a longer and more regular comb on the posterior margin of the eighth tergite. The European flower thrips, F. intonsa, which is also a pest of horticulture in Taiwan, is also closely related, but has shorter setae on the head behind the eyes. An advanced comprehensive key to European and Mediterranean species of terebrantian thrips is given in German by Zur Strassen (2003) and a pictorial key to F. occidentalis and other pest thrips worldwide is given by Mound and Kibby (1998).

                                                                                                                                                                  Molecular methods have now been developed for identification of individual specimens of F. occidentalis by PCR (Liu, 2004) and even the detection of Tomato spotted wilt virus in individual specimens (Boonham et al., 2002).

                                                                                                                                                                  Molecular methods for recognition of the tospoviruses transmitted by F. occidentalis are well developed and are available as commercial kits. These are easy to use and can distinguish viruses transmitted by F. occidentalis from other viruses that might also show similar symptoms in crops infested by F. occidentalis.

                                                                                                                                                                  Prevention and Control

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                                                                                                                                                                  Due to the variable regulations around (de)registration of pesticides, your national list of registered pesticides or relevant authority should be consulted to determine which products are legally allowed for use in your country when considering chemical control. Pesticides should always be used in a lawful manner, consistent with the product's label.

                                                                                                                                                                  Because F. occidentalis breeds so rapidly and virus transmission is so rapid, cultural and biological methods of control should be attempted before turning to the use of pesticides (Stavisky et al., 2002; Reitz et al., 2003; Momol et al., 2004). Chemical control is important and widely practised, but is often constrained by the secretive habits of F. occidentalis, and because populations have been found to develop resistance quickly. A review of chemical methods used in the earlier years of the last century is given by Lewis (1997). Since 1990 more than 50 chemicals have been tested against F. occidentalis, and new ones continue to be added to this list. Spinosyn based insecticides have been found to be some of the most effective chemicals, but local overuse of spinosyns has led to resistance development in F. occidentalis populations (Herron and James, 2005; Bielza et al., 2007; Gao et al., 2012). Similar results have been observed for other classes of insecticides. For example, MacDonald (1995) demonstrated 30-fold differences in susceptibility to malathion among populations of F. occidentalis in the remarkably small area of the southern half of England. A disturbing practice is that of mixing insecticides into 'cocktails' to obtain short-term control enhancement when one insecticide loses efficacy, because of the added risk of longer term resistance that this brings. The range of formulations of insecticides, also the methods of application, that have been used against this pest are very great, but the most effective growers are now placing greater reliance in IPM strategies and ensuring that, when insecticide use is necessary, growers use appropriate rotations of chemistries to forestall the development of resistance (Demirozer et al., 2012; Reitz and Funderburk, 2012).

                                                                                                                                                                  The basis of good IPM strategies in covered crops is firstly to produce thrips-free conditions through weed control, screening against the pest, and the production of pest-free mother plants. For many years, some growers created their own pests, notably in Chrysanthemum houses, because older plants were used as mother-plants; the apices of each mature plant were removed, rooted and used as the basis for the next crop, although almost every such plant apex contained one live thrips and its eggs. IPM control on mother plants now involves release of the predatory bugs of the genus Orius, as well as predatory mites of the genus Amblyseius or Neoseiulus.

                                                                                                                                                                  Currently there has been an upsurge in the use of novel insecticides, including soaps and organic products such as extracts of neem trees. One approach has involved the use of UV-blocking films to reduce the flight activity of F. occidentalis (Antignus et al., 1996). Plant breeding to produce strains of crops that are more tolerant to F. occidentalis feeding is also being strongly pursued (reviewed in de Kogel, 1997).

                                                                                                                                                                  In open field situations, minimizing colonization of the crop by F. occidentalis and fostering development of natural enemy populations has been a successful management approach. UV-reflective mulches disrupt host location by F. occidentalis, and the use of optimal fertility regimes minimizes preference of F. occidentalis for a crop (Brodbeck et al., 2001; Stavisky et al., 2002). Conservation of predators such as Orius insidious can significantly reduce F. occidentalis populations and the incidence of tomato spotted wilt in crops such as capsicum and aubergine (Demirozer et al., 2012).

                                                                                                                                                                  Post-harvest treatments of commodities can reduce the likelihood of F. occidentalis being transported to countries where it does not yet occur (USDA, 2015).

                                                                                                                                                                  References

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                                                                                                                                                                  Links to Websites

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                                                                                                                                                                  WebsiteURLComment
                                                                                                                                                                  Biological Control of Western Flower Thripshttp://biocontrol.ucr.edu/wft.html
                                                                                                                                                                  Dr. Joe Funderburk, University of Florida, Thrips Managementhttp://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/topic_a32878100
                                                                                                                                                                  Frankliniella occidentalishttps://keys.lucidcentral.org/keys/v3/thrips_of_california/Thrips_of_California.html
                                                                                                                                                                  Frankliniella occidentalis Archives - IRAChttp://www.irac-online.org/pests/frankliniella-occidentalis/
                                                                                                                                                                  GISD/IASPMR: Invasive Alien Species Pathway Management Resource and DAISIE European Invasive Alien Species Gatewayhttps://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.m93f6Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
                                                                                                                                                                  Global register of Introduced and Invasive species (GRIIS)http://griis.org/Data source for updated system data added to species habitat list.
                                                                                                                                                                  Western Flower Thrips Frankliniella occidentalis - Utah Pestshttps://utahpests.usu.edu/uppdl/files-ou/factsheet/western-flower-thrips.pdf

                                                                                                                                                                  Organizations

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                                                                                                                                                                  : Insecticide Resistance Action Committee (IRAC), http://www.irac-online.org/

                                                                                                                                                                  Contributors

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                                                                                                                                                                  02/03/20 Updated by:

                                                                                                                                                                  Stuart Reitz, Oregon State University, Ontario, USA.

                                                                                                                                                                  25/09/15 Updated by:

                                                                                                                                                                  Stuart Reitz, Oregon State University, Ontario, USA.

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