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Sternal gland structures in males of bean flower thrips, Megalurothrips sjostedti, and Poinsettia thrips, Echinothrips americanus, in comparison with those of western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Thysanoptera: Thripidae)

Stephanie Krueger, Sevgan Subramanian, Saliou Niassy, Gerald B. Moritz
Arthropod structure & development 2015 v.44 no.5 pp. 455-467
Euphorbia pulcherrima, Frankliniella occidentalis, Megalurothrips sjostedti, aggregation pheromones, beans, flowers, light microscopy, males, transmission electron microscopy, ultrastructure
Sternal pores are important features for identification of male thrips, especially within the subfamily Thripinae. They vary in shape, size and distribution even between species of one genus. Their functional role is speculated to be that of sex- and/or aggregation pheromone production. Yet, sexual aggregations are not reported in Echinothrips americanus, known to have sternal pores, while we observed aggregations in Megalurothrips sjostedti, previously reported to lack them.We examined the sternal glands and pores of the thripine species E. americanus and M. sjostedti males, in comparison with those of Frankliniella occidentalis using light microscopy, as well as scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Pore plates of F. occidentalis were ellipsoid and medial on sternites III–VII, while in E. americanus they were distributed as multiple micro pore plates on sternites III–VIII. In M. sjostedti they appeared as an extremely small pore in front of the posterior margin of each of sternites IV–VII. Pore plate and pore plate area were distributed similarly on sternites III–VII in F. occidentalis. However, in E. americanus the total pore plate area increased significantly from sternites III to VIII. Ultrastructure of cells associated with sternal glands showed typical characteristics of gland cells that differ in size, shape and number. The function of sternal glands is further discussed on the basis of morphological comparisons with other thrips species.