The common species of thrips that are considered pests of cotton, Gossypium hirsutum (L.), include flower thrips, Frankliniella tritici (Fitch); tobacco thrips, Frankliniella fusca (Hinds); western flower thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (Pergande); onion thrips, Thrips tabaci (Lindeman); and soybean thrips, Neohydatothrips variabilis (Beach). Thrips feeding on cotton seedlings can inhibit plant growth, reduce plant stand, delay crop maturity, and reduce seed-cotton yield. Surveys were conducted in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee to determine the thrips species infesting cotton seedlings during 1996 to 1999. Cotton seedlings were sampled weekly between 7 and 48 days after plant emergence at one to four field sites in each state. Over 12,000 thrips adults were collected using plant washing procedures with 9,005 individuals mounted on slides, and identified to species. The tobacco thrips was the most common species collected in all states, except Georgia, and comprised at least 63% of the thrips adults in all instances, except four. The occurrence of flower thrips and soybean thrips was variable; however, neither species accounted for more than 21% of thrips identified in each state. Western flower thrips accounted for less than 15% of adults collected in all instances except two (28% and 30%) in Louisiana. Also, individual specimens of Thrips nigropilosus Uzel and Anophothrips obscurus Müller were collected in Alabama, and several specimens of Microcephalothrips abdominalis (Crawford) were collected in Arkansas and Louisiana.

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Author notes

2Formerly University of Arkansas-Monticello, currently Texas Boll Weevil Eradication Foundation, Abilene, TX 79602.

3Northeast Research Station, LSU AgCenter, St. Joseph, LA 71366.

4Tennessee Valley Research and Extension Center, Alabama Cooperative Extension System, Auburn University, Belle Mina, AL 35615.

5(Deceased) Coastal Plains Research Station, Georgia Agricultural Experiment Station, University of Georgia, Tifton, GA 31794.

6West Tennessee Experiment Station, Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, University of Tennessee, Jackson, TN 38301.

7Macon Ridge Location, Northeast Research Station, LSU AgCenter, Winnsboro, LA 71295.

8Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762.