Gynaikothrips ficorum (Cuban laurel thrips)
- Taxonomic Tree
- Notes on Taxonomy and Nomenclature
- Distribution Table
- Risk of Introduction
- Habitat List
- Hosts/Species Affected
- Growth Stages
- List of Symptoms/Signs
- Biology and Ecology
- Natural enemies
- Notes on Natural Enemies
- Detection and Inspection
- Similarities to Other Species/Conditions
- Prevention and Control
- Distribution Maps
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PicturesTop of page
IdentityTop of page
Preferred Scientific Name
- Gynaikothrips ficorum (Marchal, 1908)
Preferred Common Name
- Cuban laurel thrips
Other Scientific Names
- Gynaikothrips flavus Ishida, 1931
- Haplothrips blesai Plata, 1973
- Leptothrips flavicornis Bagnall, 1909
- Leptothrips reticulatus Karny, 1912
- Liothrips bakeri Crawford, 1910
- Mesothrips bakeri Karny, 1912
- Mesothrips ficorum (Marchal)
- Phloeothrips ficorum Marchal, 1908
- Smerinthothrips bakeri (Crawford)
International Common Names
- English: laurel thrips
- Portuguese: lacerdinha
- GYNAFI (Gynaikothrips ficorum)
Taxonomic TreeTop of page
- Domain: Eukaryota
- Kingdom: Metazoa
- Phylum: Arthropoda
- Subphylum: Uniramia
- Class: Insecta
- Order: Thysanoptera
- Family: Phlaeothripidae
- Genus: Gynaikothrips
- Species: Gynaikothrips ficorum
Notes on Taxonomy and NomenclatureTop of page Gynaikothrips ficorum (Marchal, 1908) was first described under the name of Phloeothrips ficorum (Bull. Soc. ent. France, 1908:252). An extensive list of synonyms and references is given by Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers (1986). Some of the references under G. uzeli may also apply to G. ficorum (see Mound et al., 1996 for further discussion).
DescriptionTop of page Female
The body is about 2.5 to 2.8 mm long, and is mainly black in colour, with the median antennal segments, fore tibiae, and distal part of mid- and hind tibiae and all tarsi yellow; the forewings are usually clear without dark markings, and the major setae pale in colour.
The head is about 300 µm long, about 1.3 times as long as wide, with the eyes about one third of the head length. The major postocular setae are pointed, but are variable in length and the median dorsal setae are sometimes as long as the postoculars. The antennae are 8-segmented, with one sense cone on segment III and three sense cones on segment IV.
The pronotum is transverse, and the surface bears many lines of sculpture that form characteristic swirls laterally. Of the five pairs of major pronotal setae characteristically found in thrips of the family Phlaeothripidae, usually only the epimeral setae are elongate in this species. The metanotum is weakly reticulate, and the forewings are parallel-sided with about 18 duplicated cilia on the distal posterior margin. The fore tarsus bears a small tooth, but this is sometimes difficult to see in small females.
The abdominal tergite I, the pelta, is triangular with reticulate sculpture. Each abdominal tergite bears two pairs of sigmoid wing-retaining setae, and the tube is longer than the head.
Smaller than the female, with the fore tarsal tooth very small. Tergite IX sub-median pair of setae is shorter than the median pair, in contrast to the female.
These live in association with the adults in the rolled-leaf galls. They are yellow in colour and typical of this family in structure.
DistributionTop of page Species of the genus Gynaikothrips are found naturally from India to the Pacific and Australia. However, G. ficorum has been distributed widely by the horticultural trade on the decorative Ficus microcarpa (Mound et al., 1996).
Distribution TableTop of page
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.
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|China||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986; Han, 1996|
|-Hong Kong||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Zhejiang||Present||Zhao and Chen, 2008|
|India||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|-Maharashtra||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Tamil Nadu||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|Indonesia||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|-Java||Present||, 1960; UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Sumatra||Present||, 1960; UK CAB International, 1983|
|Israel||Present||UK CAB International, 1983; Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Japan||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Malaysia||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|-Peninsular Malaysia||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|Singapore||Present||UK CAB International, 1983; Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Sri Lanka||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|Taiwan||Present||Priesner, 1960; UK CAB International, 1983; Han, 1996|
|Thailand||Present||UK CAB International, 1983; Waterhouse, 1993|
|Vietnam||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Algeria||Present||UK CAB International, 1983; Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Egypt||Present||UK CAB International, 1983; Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Libya||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|Morocco||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|-Canary Islands||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|Tunisia||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Bermuda||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|Mexico||Present||UK CAB International, 1983; Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|USA||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-California||Present||Denmark, 1967; UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Florida||Present||Denmark, 1967; UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Hawaii||Present||UK CAB International, 1983; Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
Central America and Caribbean
|Barbados||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|Costa Rica||Present||Mound & Marullo, 1996|
|Cuba||Present||Denmark, 1967; Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Puerto Rico||Present||Denmark, 1967; UK CAB International, 1983|
|Argentina||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Brazil||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|-Amazonas||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Ceara||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Espirito Santo||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Maranhao||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Para||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Paraiba||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Pernambuco||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Rio de Janeiro||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Rio Grande do Sul||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Santa Catarina||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|-Sao Paulo||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|Peru||Present||UK CAB International, 1983; Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Venezuela||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|Czechoslovakia (former)||Present||Pelikan, 1991|
|Denmark||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|France||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Greece||Present||Antonatos et al., 2011|
|Italy||Present||Laudonia and Viggiani, 2005|
|Malta||Present||UK CAB International, 1983|
|Netherlands||Present||Mantel et al., 1988|
|Portugal||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|-Madeira||Present||zur, 1977; UK CAB International, 1983|
|Spain||Present||UK CAB International, 1983; Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|UK||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Australia||Present||Mound & Gillespie, 1996|
|-Queensland||Present||Tree and Walter, 2009|
|Guam||Present||Denmark, 1967; Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Micronesia, Federated states of||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
|Palau||Present||Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers, 1986|
Risk of IntroductionTop of page This thrips is readily transported around the world. It is recorded as being introduced to Europe from Cuba and from Florida (Pelikan, 1991; Collins, 1993), and is known to have been transported between towns in China (Hong and Men, 1987). Plant nurseries in Taiwan were observed to have a very high level of infestation on Ficus plants awaiting sale, even on bonsai varieties (Mound et al., 1996).
Habitat ListTop of page
Hosts/Species AffectedTop of page G. ficorum breeds almost exclusively on the young leaves of Ficus microcarpa, of which F. nitida and F. retusa are synonyms (Mound et al., 1996), although adults may be collected from a wide range of other plants on which they have alighted casually. Breeding may also occur at times on other species of Ficus, but the evidence for this in the published literature is equivocal.
Growth StagesTop of page Flowering stage, Fruiting stage, Seedling stage, Vegetative growing stage
SymptomsTop of page Adults and larvae of G. ficorum suck the contents from the cells of young leaves, causing reddish and whitish spots, and inducing the young leaves to fold along the midrib, or to roll inwards from the margin, thus providing a space within which the thrips then breeds. These damaged leaves become progressively hard and brown around the curved surfaces of the galls.
List of Symptoms/SignsTop of page
|Leaves / abnormal forms|
|Leaves / abnormal leaf fall|
|Leaves / external feeding|
|Leaves / leaves rolled or folded|
|Leaves / necrotic areas|
Biology and EcologyTop of page The colonies of G. ficorum that can be found living within the leaf-roll galls of Ficus microcarpa sometimes comprise several hundreds of individuals. Although the species is common and widespread, there seem to be no reliable studies on the development of the galls, with observations on their speed of development or on whether they are induced by a single adult or by groups of adults. Other species of thrips are commonly found in these galls in South-East Asia, including species of Androthrips, Liothrips and Mesothrips, together with predatory anthocorid bugs (Mound et al., 1996). In other parts of the world, a range of insect species are reported to invade these galls, including anthocorids aphids, aleyrodids, diptera, psocids and lepidopterous larvae, also various arachnids (Morcos, 1944; Tawfik, 1967).
In California, G. ficorum populations within leaf galls reach a maximum during summer, and again during winter (Paine, 1992). New galls were formed from midsummer through to the autumn. Development time from egg to adult ranged from 16 days at 30°C to nearly 50 days at 15°C. Slow rates of leaf expansion in winter and spring presumably limited the successful induction of new galls during this period. Similarly, in Sichuan, southern China, this thrips does not become active until the temperature reaches 18°C in spring or early summer, damage being most severe in mid- to late August when the temperature rises to 30°C, with five to six generations occurring each year (Hong and Men, 1987).
Natural enemiesTop of page
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Montandoniola moraguesi||Predator||Adults/Nymphs||Bermuda; Hawaii||Ficus|
Notes on Natural EnemiesTop of page Lewis (1973) and Jacot-Guillarmod and Brothers (1986) record many natural enemies of G. ficorum. Anthocorid bugs of the genera Orius, Macrotracheliella and Montandoniola seem to be particularly effective predators within the galls (Tawfik, 1968; Tawfik and Ata, 1973; Pericart and Halperin, 1989; Paine, 1992). Chrysopidae such as Chrysoperla have been found to eat adults and larvae in both California and Egypt. Similarly, Eulophid wasps and Pyemotid mites are widely reported as attacking various stages of this thrips (Burks, 1971; Abreu-Rodriguez, 1982).
ImpactTop of page The host tree, Ficus microcarpa, is widely planted around the world both for decoration and as a shade tree. For example, it provides shade in the market places of many Latin American towns and villages, lines the streets of cities in southern China, and decorates air-conditioned shopping malls in North America. The thrips sometimes breeds in such large numbers that the adults become a nuisance by flying into people's eyes or irritating their skin (Morcos, 1944; Denmark, 1967; Mumcuoglu and Volman, 1988), or flying into food and drinks. Nurseries producing these trees may suffer problems due to leaf shedding (Hong and Men, 1987; Pelikan, 1991). In former Czechoslovakia, G. ficorum lives only in greenhouses. It is a serious pest on F. microcarpa and closely related varieties with small, soft leaves (Pelikan, 1991).
Detection and InspectionTop of page Adults and nymphs of laurel thrips are found on damaged leaves, and all stages are found in galls. For inspection, galls, damaged leaves or other part of the host plant with thrips on it are collected, carried to the laboratory in sealed bags, and examined under a magnifying glass.
Similarities to Other Species/ConditionsTop of page G. ficorum induces leaf roll and leaf-fold galls on the young leaves of Ficus microcarpa. It is sometimes reported from other species of Ficus, but many published records are based on misidentifications of either the Ficus species or the thrips species. This thrips lives and breeds within the leaf galls, and it is sometimes accompanied by other insects including other thrips species. From these it can be recognised by the pattern of sculptured lines that form swirls on the pronotum. The species with which it is most commonly found are members of the genus Mesothrips, in which the head is instinctively constricted into a basal neck, and the members of Liothrips, in which the pronotum bears five pairs of long, dark setae.
About 35 species are placed in the genus Gynaikothrips, but many of these cannot be recognised using the published literature. In particular, the common South-East Asian species G. uzeli is frequently confused with G. ficorum, and Mound et al. (1996) suggest that G. ficorum may be an inbred strain that has been distributed by the world-wide horticultural trade in Ficus plants.
Prevention and ControlTop of page
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.
On the small, shrubby cultivars of Ficus microcarpa, it is standard gardeners' practice to pick and burn all infested leaves, and to prune the bushes to promote the growth of fresh, healthy leaves (Hong and Men, 1967; Loche et al., 1984; Pelikan, 1991). This technique is not possible on trees, however.
The most successful attempts at biological control of this thrips have employed the anthocorid bug Montandoniola moraguesi. This has been used in Hawaii (Denmark, 1967), Sardinia (Loche et al., 1984) and Bermuda (Bermuda Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, 1981).
As G. ficorum and their eggs hide within leaf galls, systemic insecticides and fumigants should be used.
In Egypt, demeton-S [superseded] was the most effective pesticide for control of G. ficorum, followed by amidithion [superseded], formothion and dimethoate (Soliman et al., 1969). In Sardinia, Italy, both pyrethrins and synthetic pyrethroids (deltamethrin, resmethrin and permethrin) gave effective control (Loche et al., 1984). In the southern states of the USA, container-grown nursery stock and hedges of Ficus microcarpa were treated with a range of insecticides, as sprays or soil-applied granules. Chlorpyrifos, bendiocarb, acephate and permethrin gave good control; chlorpyrifos was the most rapid acting (Reinert, 1983).
Plant spikes containing fertilizer alone or combined with an insecticide (for example aldoxycarb), which have long been available to private householders, have now been developed for use with pot-grown plants in commercial nurseries (Parrella et al., 1986; McConnell and Short, 1986).
ReferencesTop of page
Ananthakrishnan TN; Muraleedharan N, 1974. Studies on the Gynaikothrips-Liophlacothrips-Liothrips complex from India. Oriental Insects, Supplement 4.
Ananthakrishnan TN; Sen S, 1980. Taxonomy of Idian Thysanoptera. Zool Surv. India, Handbook. Ser. 1.
Antonatos SA; Kapaxidi EV; Papadoulis GT, 2011. Adactylidium gynaikothripsi n. sp. (Acari: Acarophenacidae) associated with Gynaikothrips ficorum (Marshal) (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae) from Greece. International Journal of Acarology, 37(Suppl. 1):18-26. http://www.tandfonline.com/loi/taca20
Awadallah KT; Tawfik MFS; El-Husseini MM; Afifi AI, 1986. Bio-cycle of the termatophilid predator Termatophyllum insigne (Reuter) reared on major insect pests of stored drug materials. Bulletin de la Societe Entomologique d'Egypte, No. 66:35-41
Childers CC; Achor DS; 1995; Thrips feeding and oviposition injuries to economic plants, subsequent damage and host responses to infestation. In: Parker BL, et al., eds. Thrips Biology and Management. New York, USA: Plenum Press.
del Canizo J, 1945. II. Redescripcion de Gynaikothrips ficorum (Marchal) y concepto actual del genero Gynaikothrips Zimmermann, nuevo parala fauna continental europea (Thysanoptera, Phloeothripidae). Eos, 21(2):123-156.
Denmark HA, 1967. Cuban-laurel thrips, Gynaikothrips ficorum, in Florida. Entomology Circular, No. 59.
Halperin J; zur Strassen R, 1981. Thysanoptera of Forest and ornamental woody plants in Israel with a list of the species recorded from Israel. Israel Journal of Entomology, 15:21-23.
Han Yun-fa, 1996. Economic Insect Fauna of China. Fasc 55, Thysanoptera. Beijing, China: Science Press, in press.
Hong CM; Men YH, 1987. Preliminary observation on the laurel thrips and its control. Sichuan Gardons, No 6:53-54.
Ishida M, 1931. Fauna of the Thysanoptera in Japan. Part II. Insecta Matsumurana, 6(1):32-42.
Jacot-Guillarmod CF; Brothers DJ, 1986. Catalogue of the Thysanoptera of the world, Part 7. Ann. Cape Prov. Mus. Nat.Hist., 17(1):1-93.
Lewis T, 1973. Thrips - Their Biology, Ecology and Economic Importance. Department of Entomology, Rothamsted Experimental Station Harpenden, Hertfordshire, England. London, UK; New York, USA: Academic Press.
Loche P; Piras S; Piseddu V; Podda P, 1984. Contribution to the knowledge of Gynaikothrips ficorum March. (Thysanoptera, Tubulifera), a thrips dangerous to Ficus retusa Desf. in Sardinia: trends in control. Difesa delle Piante, 7(3):153-160
Mound LA; Morison GD; Pitkin BR; Palmer JM, 1976. Handbooks for the identification of British insects. Vol. 1, part 11. Thysanoptera. Handbooks for the identification of British insects. Vol. 1, part 11. Thysanoptera. Royal Entomological Society of London. London UK, 79 pp.
Ortiz PM, 1972. Contribution to the knowledge of the Thysanoptera (Insecta) of Lima. Sociedad Entomologica del Peru: Proceedings of the First Laatin-American Congress of Entomology, Cuzco, Peru, 12th -18th April 1971. Revista Peruana de Entomologia, 15:83-91.
Paine TD, 1992. Cuban laurel thrips (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae) biology in southern California: seasonal abundance, temperature dependent development, leaf suitability, and predation. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 85(2):164-172
Paine TD; Malinoski MK; Robb KL, 1991. Reducing aesthetic injury or controlling insect populations: dilemma of insecticide use against Cuban laurel thrips (Thysanoptera: Phloeothripidae) in landscape-grown Ficus. Journal of Economic Entomology, 84(6):1790-1795
Parker BL, et al. , 1995. Thrips Biology and Management. New York, USA: Plenum Press.
Parrella, et al. , 1986. Plant spikes for commercial nurseries. California Agriculture, 40(9-10):6-7.
Priesner H, 1926. Die Jugendstadien der Malayischen Thysanopteren. Treubia Vo1. VIII Supplement.
Priesner H, 1960. A monograph of the Thysanoptera of the Egyptian deserts. Publs Inst. Desert Egypte., 13.
Reinert JA, 1973. Cuban laurel thrips: systemic insecticides for control. Journal of Economic Entomology, 66(5):1217-1218.
Reinert JA, 1983. Controlling Cuban laurel thrips in nurseries and landscapes. American Nurseryman, 157(8):63-66.
Soliman AA, et al. , 1969. Susceptibility of Gynaikothrips ficorum March. to some systemic insecticides (Thysanoptera). Bull. Ent. Soc. Egypt, Econmic-Series, 3:113-119.
Tree DJ; Walter GH, 2009. Diversity of host plant relationships and leaf galling behaviours within a small genus of thrips - Gynaikothrips and Ficus in south east Queensland, Australia. Australian Journal of Entomology, 48(4):269-275. http://www.blackwell-synergy.com/loi/aen
Vasantharaj BD; Ananthakrishnan TN, 1973. Studies on the second instar larvac of Indian gall thrips. PP.30 Pls 11. Occasional Publication No.3 of the Ent. Research Unit.
Vierbergen G, 1995. International movement, detection and quarantine of Thysanoptera pests. In: Parker BL, Skinner M, Lewis T, eds. Thrips Biology and Management: proceedings of the 1993 International Conference on Thysanoptera. London, USA: Plenum Publishing Co. Ltd, 119-132.
Waterhouse DF, 1993. The Major Arthropod Pests and Weeds of Agriculture in Southeast Asia. ACIAR Monograph No. 21. Canberra, Australia: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research, 141 pp.
zur Strassen R, 1977. Internationales Forschungsprojekt Makaronsischer raum. Studie zur Fruhjahrsfauna der Fransenflugler auf den Madeira-inseln im Atlantik nebst Daten zur Abundanz und Faunistik (Insecta: Thysanopotera). Boletim do Museu Municipal do Funchal, No.31(Art.134):5-78.
zur Strassen R, 1994. Some reflections on the composition of the thrips fauna (Insecta: Thysanoptera) of Bali (Indonesia) along the biogeographical Bali-Lombok line. Sondordruck aus CFS-Courier, 178:33-48.
Distribution MapsTop of page
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