A survey for Thysanoptera was conducted in the Society (Tahiti, Moorea, and Raiatea), Marquesas (Hiva Oa, Nuku Hiva, Ua Huka, and Ua Pou), and Austral islands (Rurutu and Tubuai) archipelagos in French Polynesia from September 2003 to November 2005. At least 55 thrips species in 36 genera and three families were identified from 823 slide-mounted specimens that were collected from 61 host plants in 33 families. Twelve species are considered to be important pests. The greatest diversity of species, 43 (77%), was collected from the Society Islands, with 60% being recorded from Tahiti alone. Species diversity was intermediate in the Marquesas Islands at 43% (24 species collected), with 35% or 19 species being recorded from Nuku Hiva. Lowest diversity was recorded for the Austral Islands, with 38% or 21 species being found in that archipelago. Less than 10% of collected species are likely to be native, with the majority of identified thrips (>90%) in French Polynesia representing a high diversity of exotic species (leaf, flower, and fungus feeders, and four predatory species) that have successfully infiltrated other island groups in the South Pacific. Survey results and subsequent estimates of thrips species diversity in French Polynesia should be interpreted with caution due to uncontrolled variation in sampling intensity that was affected by survey duration, time of year, and visitation frequency to islands.
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