thrips, minute, agile insects of the order Thysanoptera. Thrips have piercing-and-sucking mouthparts and cup-shaped feet from which bladderlike adhesive organs may be extended. Some species are wingless, but many have four narrow, featherlike wings fringed with hairs. Metamorphosis is gradual, and some thrips frequently reproduce by parthenogenesis. A few species prey on mites and small insects; others, e.g., the onion, pear, greenhouse, and grass thrips, feed on the foliage and flowers of plants to which they may transmit virus diseases. Thrips are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Thysanoptera.