Phylogenetic Analysis of the New World Family Heterothripidae (Thysanoptera, Terebrantia) based on Morphological and Molecular Evidence

The New World family Heterothripidae (~90 spp., four genera) comprises flower-feeding and ectoparasitic thrips. The monophyly of the group has remained untested and species-level relationships were unknown. Morphological (123 characters) and molecular (28S rDNA D2 and D3-D5, H3, and partial COI) data were compiled to reconstruct phylogenetic relationships of this group. The ingroup was represented by 65 species of the four recognized Heterothripidae genera (Aulacothrips Hood, Heterothrips Hood, Lenkothrips De Santis & Sureda, and Scutothrips Stannard). The monophyly of Heterothripidae was recovered in the total evidence and molecular data only analyses with the ectoparasitic Aulacothrips placed as the sister group of the remaining Heterothripidae. The large genus Heterothrips (>80% of the species-level diversity), which was thoroughly sampled in our analyses (56 species), was recovered as paraphyletic with respect to Scutothrips and Lenkothrips. We conclude that additional morphological and molecular data would be desirable before revising the classification of Heterothripidae