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Long snouted mystery bugs!

Posted Wednesday, September 12, 2007, at 1:03 PM

Which is the superior specimen
A lady brought to the college an interesting pair of beetles yesterday (see above). I agreed to attempt to identify them for her, but had no initial success. I and colleagues were pretty sure they were a member of the Weevil Family due to their long snouts. Unfortunately for a non-entomologist like myself, I soon discovered that this family of beetles is the largest single family of organisms on the planet, with an estimated 60,000 species and still counting. Beetles themselves define the largest Order of organisms, Coleoptera, with 350,000 members. Thank goodness for the internet. One of my colleagues suggested they might be a pair of White-fringed Weevils. I googled it and indeed there was a strong resemblance. However, upon further reading, I discovered that no males of the White-fringed Weevil had ever been seen, due to the species being entirely parthenogenic where females reproduce in the absence of males (a feminist's dream come true). Indeed, as this photo shows, one of the two weevils, the smaller of the two, is obviously male.

They are in fact Curculio caryae, commonly known as the Pecan Weevil. They use their long snouts to drill holes in the nuts of hickory trees (including Pecans) for feeding and laying their eggs. The larva will feed on the developing nut and emerge by leaving a small exit hole in the shell. I asked another colleague to choose which of the two genders shown in the photo was superior. He said the male was obviously the more perfect specimen. "But he's smaller than the female." I replied.

"It doesn't matter, don't you know? When given a choice, you always choose the lesser of two weevils!"

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Kenneth, Looks like a long snouted Acorn Bettle to me, maybe not. Taken from the net:"During August and the early part of September 2000, we began to find significant numbers of a curious looking bug in our insect traps. This little fellow appeared light brown to the naked eye, had a long, narrow beak that seemed almost as long as its body, a pair of hardened forewings covering a delicate set of hindwings that allowed it to fly, and spiny legs with sharp, pointed claws that helped it to cling tenaciously to our collection net. Note the two hairy pads, one on each side of the claw."


-- Posted by neildoolin on Thu, Sep 13, 2007, at 5:07 AM

All I know is that I'm pretty sure I saw one of them attack Tokyo in a movie once.

-- Posted by kenteutsch on Thu, Sep 13, 2007, at 8:45 AM

If the lady that brought those weevils in can tell us what kind of tree her car was parked beneath, we can settle it. Knowing the plant usually is 50% of identifying the host insect.

-- Posted by kennethjones on Thu, Sep 13, 2007, at 10:41 AM

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Honey Bees and Cell Phones
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