Thrips undergo complex metamorphosis. The first two larval instars are similar to adults in all thrip species, but they are wingless. Organisms of the stages following the larval period possess atrophied wings (two stages in the suborder Terebrantia and three stages in the suborder Tubulifera). These are inactive stages, referred to as the prepupa and the pupa, respectively. The adult emerges after the last inactive stage in each suborder.

Most of the species overwinter as adults beneath tree bark. They live in open habitats, often frequenting fields, cropland and savannas, usually near flowers. Some species live in the bark or foliage of trees. Thrips can infect plants by transmitting pathogens. Most species are phytophagous and feed on plants and pollen, while others feed on fungi. Some thrip species are predatory and eat insect eggs, sometimes eating the eggs of phytophagous thrips.


Here are typical representatives of some families in this order. At least one species associated with these families is described in the site's fact sheets.


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