Homologies and Host-Plant Specificity: Recurrent Problems in the Study of Thrips

Laurence Mound


Precise studies on the structure and behavior of thrips can be particularly difficult, due to their small size and restless behavior. As a result, many “host-plant” records are no more than casual “finding places” with limited biological significance. Definitions of “host-plant” are complicated by situations where a plant species provides an important feeding or behavioral resource, but is not used for breeding. Similarly, failure to clearly define some structures on a thrips body, often due to inadequate technical and microscopy skills, can lead to faulty interpretation of species identities and evolutionary relationships. This article re-examines some of these problems.

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