University of FloridaSolutions for Your Life

Download PDF
Publication #ENY-985

Pest Information Guide: Six-Spotted Thrips Scolothrips sexmaculatus (Pergande)1

Jeffrey D. Cluever and Hugh A. Smith2


Figure 1. 
[Click thumbnail to enlarge.]

  1. Extremely long setae on pronotum.

  2. Ocellar III setae extremely long and not arising between posterior ocelli.

  3. Three dark dots present on each forewing.

  4. Extremely long setae present on forewing.

  5. Comb on tergite VIII absent.

  6. Ctenidium on tergite VIII absent (arrow indicates spiracle).



The eggs are minute and found inside plant foliage. These are unlikely to be seen.


Light in color. Usually not identified.

Pupal Stages

The prepupa is recognized by the presence of wing buds and antennae that are straight. The pupa also has wing buds but the antennae are pulled back over the head. These stages are not usually identified.


Light in color. Its most distinctive feature is the six dark dots present on the forewings. Other distinctive features are the extremely long setae on the pronotum and forewings.

Other Diagnostic Features

Include ocellar III setae (major setae arising near the ocelli) that do not arise.

Life Cycle

Scolothrips sexmaculatus exhibits all the life stages common to terebrantian thrips: the egg, larva I, larva II, prepupa, pupa, and the adult. The length of each life stage and the number of progeny produced varies according to temperature and prey species.

At 25°C (77°F) when reared on a bean leaf substrate and a diet of Tetranychus urticae (twospotted spider mite), it takes 13.3 days to complete development from egg to adult. The individual stages are as follows:

  1. The female lays an egg into the foliage; 5.8 days later it hatches.

  2. The larva I and larva II stages feed on their prey for 2.5 and 2.3 days respectively.

  3. The non-feeding prepupa and pupa last 2.7 days collectively before the emergence of the adult.

At this temperature a female can lay about 200 eggs in her lifetime.

Prey and Distribution

Scolothrips sexmaculatus feeds on pest mites including spider mites (Acari: Tetranychidae), European red mite (Panonychus ulmi), and the cyclamen mite (Phytonemus pallidus). Cannibalism may occur if prey are scarce.

Prey Consumption Rate

Larva: 10 mite eggs/day

Adult: 60 mite eggs/day.


North America

Geographic Distribution

North America. S. pallidus and S. sexmaculatus are present in Florida and may be the same species.

Further Reading

Diffie, S., G. B. Edwards, and L. A. Mound. 2008. "Thysanoptera of the southeastern U.S.A.: A checklist for Florida and Georgia." Zootaxa 1787: 45–62.

Hoddle, M.S., L.A. Mound, and D. Paris. 2012. Thrips of California. CBIT Publishing, Queensland.

Pakyari, H., Y. Fathipour, and A. Enkegaard. 2011. "Effect of temperature on life table parameters of the thrips Scolothrips longicornis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae) fed on twospotted spider mites (Acari: Tetranychidae)." Economic Entomology 104: 799–805.



This document is ENY-985, one of a series of the Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date July 2016. Reviewed September 2019. Visit the EDIS website at for the currently supported version of this publication.


Jeffrey D. Cluever, former MS student, Entomology and Nematology Department; and Hugh A. Smith, assistant professor, Entomology and Nematology Department, UF/IFAS Gulf Coast Research and Education Center; UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.