With rather more than 2100 species, this is the second largest family of Thysanoptera. In temperate regions, Thripidae are more abundant than Phlaeothripidae, but in the tropics this situation is reversed.
Although sometimes considered to be mainly flower-thrips, a large proportion of Thripidae breed only on leaves, never in flowers, a few are predatory on other small arthropods, and a very few are associated with mosses. Most of the pest thrips, and all of the tospovirus vectors, are members of this family.
Various family-group names have been proposed for some of the species treated here as Thripidae, and these names are listed in the texts dealing with the four recognised subfamilies listed below.
Dendrothripinae Priesner, 1925
Panchaetothripinae Bagnall, 1912
Sericothripinae Karny, 1921: 214
Thripinae Stephens, 1829