Wednesday 23 October 2013

Three new species of Thrips from Japan, Malaysia and Australia.

Thrips (the term is both singular and plural) are tiny (usually less than 1 mm) Insects related to Lice and True Bugs. They have wings, but are poor flyers, and feed by sucking fluids from plant or animal hosts. Thrips do not undergo metamorphosis, the young are essentially smaller, non-reproducing versions of the adults. Due to their small size and ubiquitous nature, it is probable that Thrips are one of the larger Insect groups, though they are relatively understudied, with little work carried out on Thrips that do not have agricultural significance.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 10 September 2013, Masami Masumoto of the Yokohama Plant Protection Station, Yong Foo Ng of the Centre for Insect Systematics at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia and Shûji Okajima of the Laboratory of Entomology, Tokyo University of Agriculture, describe three new species of Thrips found living on Padans (Palm-like, fruit producing trees and shrubs) in Japan, Malaysia and Australia. All three species are placed in the new genus Pandanothrips.

The first new species is named Pandanothrips hallingi, presumably in honour of the collector of the specimens, Luke Halling, though no explanation is given. Pandanothrips hallingi is a 1.2-1.4 mm brown Thrips. The species is described from five female and one male specimens found on Padan fruit at Cape Leveque in Western Australia.

Pandanothrips hallingi, female (left) and male (right). Masumoto et al. (2013).

The approximate location of the site where Pandanothrips hallingi was discovered. Google Maps.

The second new species described is named Pandanothrips ryukyuensis, meaning 'from Ryukyu', though again no explanation is provided. Pandanothrips ryukyuensis is 1.3-1.5 mm brown Thrips. The species is described from 27 female and 2 male specimens collected from the flowers and young fruit of the Bonin Padan (Pandanus boninensis) at Naha on Okinawa Island in the Ryūkyū Archipelago.

Pandanothrips ryukyuensis, female (left) and male (right). Masumoto et al. (2013).

The approximate location of the site where Pandanothrips ryukyuensis was discovered. Google Maps.

The final new species described is named Pandanothrips wangi, presumably a reference to the Pandan Wangi Plant (Pandanus amaryllifolius), from which the specimens used to describe the species were collected. Pandanothrips wangi is a 1.1 mm bicoloured (light and dark brown) Thrips. The species is described from eleven female and three male specimens collected from Padan Wangi leaves in the Lata Belatan Forest Reserve in Terengganu State, and at Bangi Lama in Selangor State, both in Peninsula Malaysia.

Pandanothrips wangi, female (left) and male (right). Masumoto et al. (2013).

The approximate location of the site where Pandanothrips wangi was discovered. Google Maps.

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