Gynaikothrips ficorum

Gynaikothrips ficorum (Marchal)

{This species may be a synonym of Gynaikothrips uzeli (Zimmerman)).

Taxonomic placing: Insecta, Hemimetabola, Thysanoptera, Phlaeothripidae.

Common name: Laurel thrips, Cuban laurel thrips.

Geographical distribution: Pantropical, occurring wherever Ficus retusa Linnaeus. is planted.

Morphology: The two larvae are whitish to yellow with red eyes, posterior part brown, length up to 2 mm. The adult is 2.5-35 mm long, body yellowish-brown to black, with the exception of the legs and the last abdominal segment. The dorsum is covered with striations.

Host plants: Several species of Ficus (Moraceae) and occasionally on other hosts, like Nicotiana, Viburnum, Citrus and orchids.

Life cycle: A female may produce up to 100 eggs, and a generation is completed in 3-7 weeks; in the Middle East the pest raises 7-9 annual generations. The adults, which are rapid fliers, tend to remain on the plants.

Economic importance: The feeding of this thrips induces young Ficus leaves to twist or curl, forming galls that serve as the habitat within which the insect breeds. Such twisted and browned leaves, and some leaf shedding, reduce the market value of ornamental plants. The growth of young trees may be curtailed. A unique case of human infestation, in which this thrips caused red lesions on the neck and arms of a woman, was reported from Israel. In addition, swarming behavior of this pest may become a public nuisance.


Horticultural control: Pruning and burning all the infested leaves and the new foliage, the only plant parts attacked by this pest.

Plant resistance: Resistant species of Ficus would provide the best control..

Chemical control: Due to the damage inflicted on nursery plants, which have a very low level of injury, insecticides are often the only option. Soil drenches with systemic are more effective than foliar applications.

Biological control: The anthocorid Montandoniola moraguesi is a very effective predators of the laurel thrips, capable of reducing its populations by about 95%, and leaf galls by 77%. Species of the pyemotid Adactylidium sp. feed on the pest’s eggs in various parts of the world. They require less than one week to raise a generation and may destroy as many as 40% of the thrips eggs. Other potential enemies include several predatory insects, parasitic wasps (like Pediobius thysanopterus) and the entomopathogenic fungus Verticillium.


Antonatos, S.A., Kapaxidi, E.V. and Papadoulis, G.T. 2011. Adactylidium gynaikothripsi n.sp. (Acari: Acarophenacidae) associated with Gynaikothrips ficorum (Marshal) (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae) from Greece. International Journal of Acarology 37 (Suppl. 1): 18-26.

Arthurs, S., Chen, J., Dogramaci, M., Ali, A.D. and Mannion, C. 2011. Evaluation of Montandoniola confuse Streito and Matocq sp. nov. and Orius insidiosus Say (Heteroptera: Anthocoridae), for control of Gynaikothrips uzeli Zimmerman (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae) on Ficus benjamina. Biological Control 57: 202-207.

Denmark, H.A. 1967. Cuban laurel thrips, Gynaikothrips ficorum. Florida Department of Agriculture, Entomology Circular 59: 1-2.

Ibrahim, M.M.A., Tawfik, M.F.S., Agamy, E.A. and El-Husseini, M.M. 2013. Seasonal abundance of Montandoneilla moraguesi Puton (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae), the predator of Gynaikothrips ficorum Marchal (Thysanoptera: Phloethripidae) on Ficus nitida Thunb. at Giza, Egypt. Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest Control 23: 187-188.

Mound, L.A., Wang, C.-.L and Okajima, S. 1996. Observations in Taiwan on the identity of the Cuban laurel thrips (Thysanoptera, Phlaeothripidae). Journal of the New York Entomological Society 103: 185-190.

Mumcuoglu, K. Y.; Volman, Y. 1988. Thrips stings in Israel: a case report. Israel Journal of Medical Sciences 24: 715.

Paine, T.D. 1992. Cuban laurel thrips (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae) biology in Southern California: seasonal abundance, temperature dependent development, leaf suitability, and predation. Annals of the Entomological Society of America 85: 164-172.