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Thrips on fabaceous plants and weeds in an ecotone in northeastern Brazil/Tripes em plantas fabaceas e ervas daninhas em um ecotono no nordeste do Brasil.


Thrips (Thysanoptera) are pests of many cultivated plants in Brazil, and at least one forage crop and 13 ornamentals are attacked by these insects. Damage from thrips ranges from minor qualitative injuries to loss of leaf pigmentation and appearance of dark spots, leading to decreases in yield (MONTEIRO et al. 1999; AFONSO, 2008). Thrips can shelter in weeds and then disperse to crop land where they become a problem (LIMA et al., 2000a,b).

In spite of their agricultural importance, few studies focusing on the fauna of Thysanoptera in agroecosystems had been conducted in northern Brazil, and records of these pests are concentrated in the Southern and Southeastern regions (MONTEIRO, 2002; MONTEIRO & LIMA, 2011). Groups inadequately sampled, such as Thysanoptera, need to be more intensively studied in areas where they are neglected. In the states of Piaui and Maranhao, which have typical ecotone vegetation (caatinga-cerrado), no thrips species were recorded yet on forage, ornamental or weed plants.

Fabaceae species are commonly grown in arid regions of Brazil due to their ease cultivation, abundance and productivity (MCKEY, 1994; MOURAO et al., 2011). However, in spite of these characteristics and although a highly diverse assemblage of thrips may be associated with Fabaceae in Brazil (MONTEIRO, 2002), little is known regarding thrips and these plant species in caatinga-cerrado ecotone vegetation in northeastern Brazil.

This study surveyed the thrips species associated with widely used ornamental and forage plants (Fabaceae), as well as some weed species, in caatinga-cerrado ecotone areas in this region. Data on host associations were provided for some species. This basic information is important for the development integrated pest management strategies, increasing the knowledge of thrips in this region.


Thrips were collected from 33 species of plants (ornamental and forage fabaceous species, along with nearby weeds), 30 of which are native (Tables 1, 2, 3 and 4).The surveys were conducted in two municipalities with typical caatinga-cerrado ecotone vegetation, Sao Luis (02[degrees]35'01" S; 44[degrees]12'33" W) and Teresina (05[degrees]05'21" S; 42[degrees]48'07" W), in 2010 (July, August and December) and 2011 (January and July), the period of planting and flowering of fabaceous plants in the region.

Flowers and leaves were taken to the laboratory for thrips screening, which were preserved in AGA and mounted on glass slides (MOUND & MARULLO, 1996) for identification. Host associations were established based on immatures, which were identified using the compendia of SPEYER & PARR (1941), VANCE (1974), HEMING (1991) and VIERBERGEN et al. (2010). When identification was not possible, host associations were based on larvae associated with adults present (PINENT et al., 2005). Voucher specimens are deposited in the Thysanoptera collection of the Department of Entomology and Acarology (ESALQ/USP). Comparisons between thrips of the ecotone and from other Brazilian regions are provided, especially with the more southern states, in which distribution data are more abundant.


Twenty thrips species were collected on 28 of the 33 plant species sampled (nine botanical families) in the states of Maranhao (Tables 1 and 3) and Piaui (Tables 2 and 4). Twenty-six host associations established between ten thrips species and ten forage, ornamental and weed species were recorded for the first time in Brazil. Species from five genera, namely Aulacothrips (the only ectoparasitic genus in Thysanoptera), Frankliniella, Haplothrips, Hydatothrips (Figure 1A), and Scirtothrips (Figure 1B) were not identified, and are probably new to science (Tables 2, 3 and 4). Our data add new information for the Thysanoptera fauna in the Brazilian caatinga-cerrado ecotone, which shows a considerable species richness. Except for Aulacothrips sp. (Heterothripidae) and Haplothrips gowdeyi (Phlaeothripidae), all of the thrips species belong to the family Thripidae.

Some of the species collected are previously known and are pests of many crops in Brazil (MONTEIRO et al., 1999). Although thrips occur in large populations on ornamental and forage plants, we observed only minor damage such as markings on the floral tissue (Figure 1C). On ornamental plants, these injuries can reduce the commercial value, but they are not common in the field, and are not important enough to cause significant qualitative losses. However, the populations of some thrips species that are pests on other crops can increase depending on climate factors, and occasionally develop into serious problems. The pest thrips, Frankliniella schultzei (Figure 1D), F. brevicaulis, F. insularis, Heliothrips haemorrhoidalis and Selenothrips rubrocinctus were collected on forage and ornamental plants. However, only F. schultzei and H. haemorrhoidalis are known to damage ornamentals in Brazil (MONTEIRO et al., 1999; LIMA et al., 2012).

Several new associations between thrips and weed species were established from these collections (Tables 3 and 4); however, only few observations related to thrips species on these plants in the caatinga-cerrado ecotone are discussed relatively to their occurrence and associations in other Brazilian regions. As no immatures of F. schultzei were found on Desmodium sp., the host association was not be determined, although this thrips had been recorded on Desmodium tortuosum and Senna obtusifolia elsewhere in Brazil (LIMA et al. 2000A). The association between F. insularis and Dioclea lasiophylla is new; however, this species was associated with Dioclea violacea in the state of Rio Grande do Sul (PINENT et al., 2005).

Other pest thrips collected on weeds were Caliothrips phaseoli (Figure 1E), Bradinothrips musae (Figure 1F), Chaetanaphothrips orchidii and Hoodothrips lineatus. Although these species are pests of many crops in Brazil, none is known to damage forage plants or ornamentals (MONTEIRO et al., 1999).

The host associations between F. schultzei, C. phaseoli and weeds (Tables 3 and 4) are important in order to establish cultural practices to reduce or prevent invasions of thrips populations that are harbored in these weeds into crop and/or adjacent areas. Knowledge of the weed species on which thrips develop helps in the management of a pest thrips by removing the weed or by using it as trap plants (LIMA et al., 2000a,b).

Ipomoea asarifolia showed high infestation by Dendrothripoides innoxius, mostly at the base and inside closed leaves (Figures 1G, 1H and 1I). Although Ipomoea spp. are known as hosts of D. innoxius, this is the first record on I. asarifolia in Brazil. The leaves appear wrinkled due to D. innoxius feeding on the plant tissue (Figure 1G). This weed is toxic to cattle (MEDEIROS et al., 2003; TORTELLI et al., 2008), which can die if they consume a large amount of the plant. D. innoxius could be a possible candidate for biocontrol of this weed.


Twenty thrips species occur on 28 forage, ornamental (Fabaceae) and surrounding weeds in the ecotone cerrado-caatinga in Northeastern the Country, of which five are probably new to science. Twenty-six host associations are established for the first time in Brazil. These data, along with the possibility of weed control by D. innoxius, can be used as cultural practices to control pest thrips and increases the knowledge of thrips diversity in Brazil.


To Prof. Dr. Lucia da S. Fontes, Dr. Ranyse B. Querino and Jose Campelo, who kindly provided support during field research in Piaui; to Prof. Dr. Rosangela Malheiros, Prof. Dr. Maria Jose Correa and Wendell Dias, who equally kindly provided support during field research in Maranhao. MSc Wanessa Scopel for providing the photo of Caliothrips phaseoli. To CAPES (Coordenacao de Aperfeicoamento de Pessoal de Nivel Superior, Ministry of Education), for the master's scholarship to the first author.


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Elison Fabricio Bezerra Lima (I) * Roberto Antonio Zucchi (I)

(I) Departamento de Entomologia e Acarologia, Escola Superior de Agricultura "Luiz de Queiroz" (ESALQ), Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP), 13418-900, Av. Padua Dias, 11, Piracicaba, SP, Brasil. E-mail: * Corresponding author.

Received 04.28.15 Approved 08.03.15 Returned by the author 10.23.15 CR-2015-0613.R1

Table 1--Thrips species found on ornamental and forage
plants (Fabaceae) in the cerrado-caatinga ecotone in Sao
Luis, Maranhao, Northeastern Brazil.

Plant species                             Thrips species

Acacia sp. (O,E)                 Frankliniella brevicaulis  * (+),
                                   F. insularis  * (+)
Arachis pinto (F,N)              F. schultzei  * (+)
Caesalpinia pulcherrima (O,N)    F. schultzei  * (+)

* Host association based on larvae collection; (+) New record
of association with plant; (F) Forage; (O) Ornamental; (N)
Native; (E) Exotic.

Table 2--Thrips species found on ornamental and forage
plants (Fabaceae) in the cerrado-caatinga ecotone in
Teresina, Piaui, Northeastern Brazil.

Plant species                                 Thrips species

Acacia mangium (O,E)               --
Bauhinia forficata (O,N)           Frankliniella brevicaulis  * (+),
                                     F. gardeniae (+), F. insularis
                                     (+), F. tritici (+)
Canavalia brasitiensis (F,N)       F. gardeniae (+), F. insularis
                                      * (+), Salpingothrips minimus
                                     (+), Hydatothrips sp.  * (+)
Chamaecrista rotundifolia (F,N)    --
Citoria fairchildiana (O,N)        Heliothrips Haemorrhoidalis  * (+),
                                     Haplothrips gowdeyi (+)
Cratylia argentea (F,N)            F. gardeniae (+),
                                     F. insularis  * (+),
                                     F. schultzei (+), F. tritici (+)
Leucaena leucocephala (F,E)        F. brevicaulis  * (+),
                                     F. gardeniae (+), F. gemina (+),
                                     F. schultzei (+)
Mimosa caesalpiniifolia (F,N)      F. gardeniae (+), F. gemina (+),
                                     F. schultzei (+), F. tritici (+)
Mimosa verrucosa (O,N)             F. gardeniae (+), F. gemina (+),
                                     F. tritici (+)
Mucuna pruriens (F,N)              --
Pityrocarpa moniliformis (F,N)     F. gardeniae (+), F. gemina (+),
                                     Ha. gowdeyi (+), Frankliniella sp.
Poincianella gardneriana (O,N)     Aulacothrips sp. (+),
                                     F. insularis  * (+),
                                     F. tritici (+),
                                     He. haemorrhoidalis  * (+),
                                     Selenothrips rubrocinctus (+)
Senna alata (O,N)                  F. brevicaulis  * (+),
                                     F. insularis (+),
                                     F. schultzei (+), F. tritici (+)
Stylosanthes humilis (F,N)         --

* Host association based on larvae collection; (+) New record
of association with plant; (F) Forage; (O) Ornamental; (N)
Native; (E) Exotic.

Table 3--Thrips species found on native species of weeds in
the cerrado-caatinga ecotone in Sao Luis, Maranhao,
Northeastern Brazil.

Plant species                 Thrips species

Aeschynomene sp. (1)          Neohydatothrips paraensis (+)
Centrosema brasilianum (1)    Frankliniella schultzei * (+)
Ipomoea asarifolia (2)        Dendrothripoides innoxius * (+),
                                Scirtothrips sp. *

* Host association based on larvae collection; (+) New record
of association with plant species; (1) Fabaceae; (2)

Table 4--Thrips species found on native species of weeds in
the cerrado-caatinga ecotone in Teresina, Piaui,
Northeastern Brazil.

Plant species                   Thrips species

Althernanthera sp. (1)          Haplothrips sp. *
Calopogonium mucunoides (2)     Frankliniella insularis (+),
                                  Salpingothrips minimus (+)
Centrosema brasilianum (2)      F. schultzei (+), F. insularis (+),
                                  H. gowdeyi (+)
Centratherum sp. (3)            H. gowdeyi
Cleome sp. (4)                  F. schultzei, F. tritici
Commelina sp. (5)               Chaetanaphothrips orchidii
Desmodium sp. (2)               F. schultzei
Dioclea lasiophylla (2)         F. gardeniae (+), F. insularis * (+),
                                  F. schultzei (+), F. tritici *  (+)
Macroptilium lathyroides (2)    Bradinothrips musae (+),
                                  F. schultzei (+), F. tritici (+),
                                  Caliothrips phaseoli (+)
Richardia sp. (6)               Hoodothrips lineatus, F. schultzei, C.
                                  phaseoli, H. gowdeyi *
Senna obtusifolia (2)           Frankliniella sp., Scirtothrips sp. *
Sida sp. (7)                    H. gowdeyi *
Turnera sp. (8)                 --
Zornia sp. (2)                  --

(*) Host association based on larvae collection; (+) New
record of association with plant species; (1) Amaranthaceae;
(2) Fabaceae; (3) Asteraceae; (4) Cleomaceae; (5)
Commelinaceae; (6) Rubiaceae; (7) Malvaceae; (8)
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Title Annotation:proteccion de cultivos; texto en ingles
Author:Lima, Elison Fabricio Bezerra; Zucchi, Roberto Antonio
Publication:Ciencia Rural
Date:Mar 1, 2016
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