Meet the Avocado Weevil (Heilipus apiatus). I spotted him (her?) on a dried grass stalk back in May 2012. I don’t have avocados (at least not planted) but I do have Red Bay, which is a Florida native in the same genus (Persea spp.) Note that avocado is an exotic. There is also indication that this weevil will munch on new growth of sassafras and under Pine Bark.
Weevils are a type of beetle. They have long “snouts”, so fittingly they are in the Curculionidae Family and the common name is “snout beetle”. Clever eh?
The gentleman over at bugguide.net that identified my friend seemed rather enamoured with this species:
A lot of people get up in arms at the thought of weevils, likely because of one weevil that just happened to decimate cotton crops. The cotton boll weevil got all the press and none of it good. Granted, weevils aren’t much to look at, but not all of these Jimmy Durante looking guys are bad.
“Many weevil species are specialized in feeding habits: adults and larvae feed on plants of one genus (or a few species of one genus), or sometimes on plants of one family. Very many plant species are attacked by weevils, but relatively few weevil species are considered pests: this is because only those weevil species that feed on plants of economic importance and cause significant damage are considered pests. Most weevil species are innocuous because they have low populations and feed on plants of no particular consequence to humans. Some species are beneficial because they feed on plants that humans consider being weeds. Some weevil species are highly beneficial because they have been used in biological control of important weeds.”
“576 weevil species are known from Florida, of which 526 are native, and a few of them are pests. Among the 50 species of foreign origin, 5 were introduced deliberately as biological control agents of weeds.”
Some specifically control hydrilla, waterhyacinth, waterlettuce, and watermilfoil some of Florida’s worst invasive lake weeds. One species was introduced to Florida from Australia to control invasive melaleuca trees in south Florida.
I found this other species of weevil on some fleabane. This guy (gal?) is likely Odontocorynus spp. possibly umbellae since adults in that genus feed on flowers of herbaceous plants, particularly Common Mullein, and various daisies and sunflowers.
Some weevils eat seeds, thereby keeping plants that are prolific seeders in check.
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