From the Super Mario Wiki
A Thunder Lakitu is a Lakitu that shoots out a ball of energy, setting the ground on fire. They make their only appearance in Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's Island in the level, BLIZZARD!!!. These sun-burnt Lakitus make a loud noise and the screen flashes when they attack, so the player can detect when they are about to attack. Thunder Lakitus reappear in Yoshi's New Island, where they are only found in the level Bandit Valley.
In Mario Power Tennis, the Thunder Lakitu has a major appearance in the DK Jungle Court. They are able to clear the field from Klaptraps, by burning them with lightning bolts in the gimmick courts mode. Here, their skin is that of a normal Lakitu, but they still have the odd decoration on their shells.
- In Super Mario Bros.: Peach-hime Kyushutsu Dai Sakusen! (which predated the existence of Thunder Lakitus by years), Mario got hold of a Lakitu's Cloud and while attempting to pilot it, triggered several natural element-based features. One of these included orbs of energy raised on sticks (presumably the anime Lakitu's Cloud answer to control of sunlight); this feature made the cloud look like that of the Thunder Lakitus.
- Thunder Lakitus may be based on the Japanese thunder god, Raijin who also wears a set of drum-like ornaments on his back, has red skin and can control lightning.