Rapid Identification of Western Flower Thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) in Shade Houses in Western Cape of South Africa


  •   Thandwa Dlamini

  •   Yoseph Assefa


The western flower thrips (WFT), Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande) (Thripidae: Thysanoptera), is one of the most economically important pests in shade houses. However, their identification is usually difficult, with them being easily confused with other thrips species. Accurate, rapid and reliable identification of insect pests is a crucial first step in implementing an efficacious management program. In this study the identity of F. occidentalis was verified, using molecular methods using the mtCOI gene sequences. Molecular analysis of thrips specimens collected from chrysanthemums and blueberries in the Western Cape Province, South Africa revealed the presence of Frankliniella. occidentalis and four other thrips species. Two of the five the specimens were F. occidentalis and one of the specimens was identified as Gynaikothrips ficorum. The remaining specimens were identified only to a generic level as Pseudophilothrips sp and to an ordinal level as Thrips sp. Failure to identify the two specimens to specific levels might have resulted from lack of sequences of identified thrips species in the molecular data bases. Considering the speed, specificity as well as sensitivity of the method, mtCOI sequences can be used as a swift and efficient method for western flower thrips identification and detection of new thrips pest invasion.

Keywords: Frankliniella occidentalis, molecular identification, mtCOI gene, shade houses, Western Cape


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How to Cite
Dlamini, T., & Assefa, Y. (2022). Rapid Identification of Western Flower Thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) in Shade Houses in Western Cape of South Africa. European Journal of Biology and Biotechnology, 3(3), 29–32. https://doi.org/10.24018/ejbio.2022.3.3.371

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