Two strains of western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande), are reputedly found in New Zealand. One strain was recorded in 1934, and it is most common in flowers of Lupinus arboreus outdoors (lupin strain); the other strain was first recorded in New Zealand in 1992 and is found mostly indoors on greenhouse crops (greenhouse strain). Laboratory studies were conducted to compare the life history parameters of these two strains. Thrips from each strain were fed sucrose solution and capsicum or lupin pollen and reared at 25°C, >60% RH, and16 L:8 D photoperiod. Significant differences in life history parameters were found. Preoviposition time was significantly shorter, and oviposition rate and fecundity were markedly higher (four-fold) for the greenhouse than for the lupin strain. The lupin strain performed significantly better on the capsicum pollen, laying more than twice as many eggs than on the lupin pollen over a 14-d period. The greenhouse strain development time from larvae to adult was marginally faster (0.7–1.1 d less) than the lupin strain because of a shorter prepupal and a marginally shorter pupal development time. Females of the greenhouse strain lived on average 69% longer than females from the lupin strain. Large differences in the intrinsic growth rate (rm) were found, with rm being 1.4–1.8 times higher for the greenhouse strain than the lupin strain, depending on pollen source. The results are discussed in relation to different ecological requirements and pest status of the two strains.
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