Description of Gynaikothrips ficorum
According to a recent report (see 93/015) the only thrips found in a survey of Ficus in Guatemala was not Thrips palmi (EPPO A1 quarantine pest), but Gynaikothrips ficorum (Marchal) (=G. uzeli). This species (the Cuban laurel thrips) occurs in many tropical countries. IIE Map No. 455 (1983) gives it in:
EPPO region: Malta, Israel, Italy (Sicilia), Portugal (Madeira), Spain (mainland and Islas Canarias)
Asia: Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand
Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Libya
North America: Bermuda, USA (California, Florida, Hawaii)
Central America and Caribbean: Barbados, Puerto Rico
South America: Brazil, Peru, Venezuela
A recent USDA description (data sheet 102, Entomology Section) adds: Colombia, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guam, Nicaragua, Panama, El Salvador and USA (Texas). A search of CABPESTCD adds to the geographical distribution: Czech Republic, Italy (Sardegna), Netherlands and Japan. ;Guatemala can now also be added.
The US publication stresses that Ficus retusa is the preferred host, and all other Ficus spp. are resistant. It also describes the symptoms: leaf curling, followed by leaf fall causing unsightly litter below the plants. The thrips are also said to be annoying to man, and can inadvertently bite passers-by! Chemical or biological control is feasible. This thrips seems to have further spread potential in glasshouses in the EPPO region.
EPPO Secretariat, Paris (1993-12)