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Thysanoptera ~ Thrips

These small insects are usually found on flowers and resemble leafhoppers or unidentifiable bits of debris.

Thrips have unusual mouthparts: one side has a sharp tip to poke a hole and the other parts suck out the contents, whether it is plant juice or, in the case of predatory thrips, the fluids of tiny insects.

Some thrips are wingless, but the others have four equal wings with fringes. These are so tiny as to be almost invisible. Even wingless species can disperse by being blown by wind.

This group has a unique life cycle: the larvae look similar to adults and pass through two stages, followed by three prepupal and pupal stages, before emerging as adults.

Size is minute.

Due to the small size, identification beyond the family level requires magnification.

These are the Families of Thysanoptera (thrips) likely to be encountered in Austin, Texas:

[common thrips]

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