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Black hunter

Leptothrips mali (Fitch)
Thysanoptera: Thripidae (Thrips)

The adult is a slender, sharply pointed, blue-black insect with silvery wings, which are held over the abdomen (A). The nymph is nearly colorless after hatching, but soon turns a dark maroon as it matures (B).


Overwintered adults become active in the spring and search for prey among the buds, leaves and blossoms of most tree fruits. Populations increase slowly, as most females lay only 1–2 eggs.

Note: Black hunter is the most economically valuable predatory thrips in eastern North America. It is solitary in habit but very active, feeding especially on European red mite, twospotted spider mite and apple rust mite.

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