Author: Mark Hoddle

In December 2004, Neohydatothrips burungae was collected from avocado trees in San Diego California during a survey for avocado lace bug. Neohydatohrips burungae has been collected from avocados in Mexico and Guatemala by Hoddle (Hoddle et al., 2002). In Mexico, this thrips was as common as avocado thrips, Scirothrips perseae, in areas of intermediate altitude. In colder high altitude areas S. perseae dominated, almost exclusively, and in warmer more humid lowland areas N. burangae was dominant on avocados. Neohydatothrips burungae has also been collected in large numbers from mangoes in Nayarit, suggesting it may be more polyphagous than S. perseae. With a hand lens, N. burungae is very similar looking in color and size to S. perseae and without specialized training PCA’s and growers would not be able to easily separate the two if collected together in the field. When this work was originally initiated, it was unknown how widespread N. burungae was on California grown avocados or how common this thrips would be in comparison to the widespread and pestiferous S. perseae. Consequently, a survey through all major avocado growing areas in California was undertaken to survey for N. burungae to determine its distribution and abundance. To effectively manage foliage and fruit damaging thrips it is imperative to determine how widespread and abundant N. burungae is in comparison to S. perseae. Additionally, specimens need to be collected and preserved for potential future DNA analysis (similar to the completed DNA fingerprinting project for S. perseae) and photography for educational and outreach purposes. Consequently, on going field surveys over a three year period have been conducted to delineate the range and to ascertain the abundance of N. burungae in Hass avocados in California.