DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of Western flower thrips adult (Frankliniella occidentalis). Thrips (adult and nymph stages) are agricultural pests that feed by rasping the leaf surfaces and sucking on the plant juices. This injury causes distorted leaves and often growth of black mould on the leaf surfaces. Some thrips are vectors for plant viruses that infect flowers and tomatoes. The Western flower thrips is an important vector of tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV). Crops especially susceptible to the virus are tomatoes, cotton, peppers, and leafy vegetables, especially lettuce in Hawaii. Most vegetables, agronomic crops, ornamentals, and weeds have one or more thrips species that may attack them. Thrips are also a primary vector for impatiens necrotic spot virus (INSV), a destructive plant virus. Magnification: x70 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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