These very small insects usually measure only 12 mm long. They have two pairs of wings, consisting largely of fringe hairs. The antennae are medium in length and thread-like. The mouthparts pierce plant tissue and remove plant sap, though the mouthparts are often described as rasping rather than piercing-sucking. These insects exhibit a form of incomplete development in which the first two instars feed actively, but are inactive. Tarsal claws usually are not present. The nymphal instars generally resemble the adults in body form, the principal exceptions being the smaller size and undeveloped wings of nymphs. Thrips can be found on foliage and in blossoms. Despite their small size they can be quite destructive owing to their ability to transmit plant viruses. About 700 thrips species inhabit the United States and Canada.
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