Phlaeothrips annulipes

In the summer I find these tiny insects on my windows indoors. Thrips are minute insects, usually dark in colour, with a slender body and two pairs of feather-like wings, although some species are wingless. Commonly found in flowers where they suck the juices from cells, whilst others feed on fungi and generally are scavengers. They are commonly called ‘Thunderflies’, for in still, thundery weather thousands take to the air. There are over 3,000 species.

Phlaeothrips annulipes only grows up to 2mm in length, they are so minute. They are dark brown, stouter than most other thrips, and the end of the abdomen is distinctly tubular in both sexes. The wings overlap strongly at rest.

The larvae and adults feed by sucking the juices from fungal hyphae and spores.

Found on a wide variety of herbaceous plants, trees and shrubs in well-vegetated places. Common and widespread.

Photographs taken July 2015, rear garden, Staffordshire.

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