Gall thrips Acaciothrips ebneri (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae) from Ethiopia, a promising biological control agent for prickly acacia in Australia

03 Oct 2018

Based on climatic and plant phenotype matching, native-range surveys were conducted in Ethiopia to identify prospective biological control agents for prickly acacia, a serious weed of grazing areas in northern Australia. Surveys identified a gall thrips, Acaciothrips ebneri (Karny) (Thysanoptera: Phlaeothripidae), as a prospective biological control agent for prickly acacia, based on damage potential, field host range and geographic range in Ethiopia. The gall thrips was imported into a high security quarantine facility at the Ecosciences Precinct, Brisbane,Australia in December 2015 and host-specificity tests are in progress. If approved, the gall thrips would be the first gall insect to be released against prickly acacia in Australia.