The flower thrips, Frankliniella tritici (Fitch) (Figure 1), is one of the most abundant species of flower thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) in the eastern United States (Reitz 2008). The official common name established by the Entomological Society of America for this species is flower thrips, although the name flower thrips is often applied generically to the numerous species in the genus Frankliniella that inhabit flowers. For this reason, it is frequently referred to as the eastern flower thrips, presumably for its distribution in the eastern United States.
Several species in the genus Frankliniella are considered economic pests and cause damage to a wide variety of crops through feeding and oviposition (Childers 1997). Several species are able to vector orthotospoviruses (or tospoviruses), including Tomato spotted wilt virus. However, Frankliniella tritici is not a vector of Tomato spotted wilt virus and is considered a pest of secondary importance (de Assis Filho 2005).
Frankliniella tritici may, however, be confused with other similar Frankliniella species in Florida such as Frankliniella bispinosa and Frankliniella occidentalis which are capable vectors of Tomato spotted wilt virus (Riley et al. 2011).
This document is also available on the Featured Creatures website at http://entnemdept.ifas.ufl.edu/creatures/.
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