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Citrus Pests


Chilli thrips


Scientific name


Scirtothrips dorsalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)

Other common names


yellow tea thrips, castor thrips, Assam thrips, strawberry thrips, oriental tea thrips

Similar species


Florida flower thrips, Frankliniella bispinosa

tobacco thrips, Frankliniella fusca

western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis



United States: Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Louisiana, and Texas.

Worldwide: Asia, Australia, eastern Europe, Kenya, Madagascar, North America, Papua New Guinea, Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Native to Southeast Asia.

Diagnostic characteristics

  • 2 mm (0.079 in.) in length.
  • Pale yellow or nearly white.
  • Slender and elongate.
  • Four fringed wings.
  • Eight-segmented antennae.
  • Two larval instars followed by a pre-pupal and pupal stage.
  • Pale yellow.
  • No suitable key exists to identify chilli thrips larvae or pupae.
  • 0.075 mm (in.) in length and 0.070 mm (in.) in width.
  • Creamy white.
  • Kidney shaped.


Citrus hosts

All Citrus species and their hybrids.

Non-citrus hosts
  • banana, Musa spp.
  • bean, Phaseolus vulgaris
  • corn, Zea mays
  • cotton, Gossypium hirsutum
  • eggplant, Solanum melongena
  • grape, Vitis vinifera
  • Indian hawthorn, Crataegus monogyna
  • kiwi, Actinidia chinensis
  • Ligustrum spp.
  • lychee, Litchi chinensis
  • longan, Dimocarpus longan
  • Pittosporum spp.
  • mango, Mangifera indica
  • peach, Prunus persica
  • peanut, Arachis hypogaea
  • pepper, Capsicum annuum
  • Plumbago spp.
  • Rosa spp.
  • soybean, Glycine max
  • strawberry, Fragraria spps.
  • sweet viburnum, Viburnum lentago
  • tea, Camellia sinensis
  • Theobroma bicolor
  • tobacco, Nicotiana tabacum
  • tomato, Solanum lycopersici

Host damage

  • Bronzing on buds.
  • Brittleness, browning, and early bud or flower drop.
  • Young distorted leaves curled upwards appearing bronze or silver.
  • Leaves can be dried along edges or completely.
  • Occasional defoliation in some hosts.



The larva emerges from eggs deposited on the host plant and feeds during its first two larval stages. It then enters a pre-pupal stage and later a pupal stage during which it does not feed. A distinctive feature is that the pupae are found on leaves, in leaf litter, in axils of leaves, or under calyces of flowers and fruit. In contrast to most other thrips species, chilli thrips complete their entire life cycle on the plant. It can complete a life cycle in 14 - 20 days and is capable of reproducing both sexually and asexually (parthenogenesis). It typically has 4 - 8 generations per year.



Chili thrips is a vector of groundnut chlorotic fan-spot virus, groundnut yellow spot virus, tomato spotted wilt virus, and tobacco streak virus.



(EPPO/CABI) European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization/Centre for Agricultural Bioscience International. 1998. Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood. Distribution maps of quarantine pests for Europe, Map No. 142. Wallingford, UK.

Chu, C.C., M.A. Ciomperlik, N.T. Chang, M. Richards, and T.J. Henneberry. Flor. Entomol. 89: 47-55. (

Edwards, G.B. 2005. Chilli thrips Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) A new pest thrips for Florida. (

Hoddle, M.S., L.A. Mound, and S. Nakahara. 2004. Thysanoptera recorded from California, U.S.A.: A checklist. Flor. Entomol. 87: 317-323.

Hoddle M.S., L.A. Mound, and D.L. Paris. 2008. Thrips of California. CBIT Publishing, Queensland: Australia. (

Hodges, A., S. Ludwig, L. Osborne, and G.B. Edwards. 2009. Pest thrips of the United States: Field identification guide. USDA-CSREES Integrated Pest Management Center.(

Holtz, T. 2006. USDA PPQ CPHST, New Pest Advisory Group Report - Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood: Chilli thrips (Thysanoptera: Thripidae). (

Jha, V.K., D.R. Seal, and G. Kakkar. Chilli thrips Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood (Insecta: Thysanoptera: Thripidae) (

Ludgwig, S., L. Osborne, M. Ciomperlik, and G. Hodges. National pest alert: Scirtothrips dorsalis Hood - chilli thrips, castor thrips, Assam thrips, yellow tea thrips, strawberry thrips. (

Moritz, G., L.A. Mound, D.C. Morris, and A. Goldarazena. 2004. Pest thrips of the world: Visual and molecular identification of pest thrips. CD-ROM. CBIT Publishing, Brisbane, Australia.

(EPPO) European and Mediterranean Plant Protection Organization. 2005. EPPO standards - Diagnostics, PM 7/56. OEPP/EPPO Bulletin 35: 353-356.



Martin, K.W., A.C. Hodges, and N.C. Leppla


Citrus Pests
Content last updated June, 2012