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Boll Weevil (Anthonomus grandis)


Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Boll Weevil.


 Updated: 6/11/2018; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ¬©www.InsectIdentification.org



  Boll Weevil  
Picture of Boll-Weevil
Picture of Boll-Weevil Picture of Boll-WeevilPicture of Boll-Weevil


The Boll Weevil is historically known as the greatest pest that cotton plants growing in the South have ever faced.





The bane of cotton farmers in the late 19th and early 20th century, the Boll Weevil has been controlled and managed with good results in the 21st century. The only plant this particular weevil attacks is cotton, which happens to comprise the most popular fabric in North America. After heavy use of pesticides to reduce Boll Weevil populations did not completely eradicate their threat to cotton crops, the cotton plant itself was genetically altered to eliminate the Boll Weevil's interest in eating it. The Boll Weevil Eradication Program (BWEP) was initiated and a gene was inserted into the cotton plant's DNA that allowed the cotton plant to produce a chemical protein that is toxic to Boll Weevils. The effectiveness of this genetically modified cotton led to the drastic reduction in the amount of pesticides that are used on cotton plants.

A small, but growing percentage of farmers do not use the genetically altered cotton plant. They sell an organic cotton harvest, which has recently become more attractive in the American clothing, linen and bedding markets. Natural predators of the Boll Weevil include spiders, fire ants and a parasitic wasp native to Mexico.

The Boll Weevil itself has an extremely round body and can be a shade of brown or gray with short hairs covering its thorax and abdomen ('shoulders' and 'tail'). It has a tubular mouthpiece that resemble the shape of an anteater's snout or a downward-curved elephant's trunk. The Boll Weevil gets its name from the cotton bolls it destroyed Cotton bolls are hold the white tufts most people are familiar with. Bolls are the protective cases around the fibrous balls of cotton. As the cotton plant forms buds, the Boll Weevil devours the buds, preventing any usable cotton tuft from developing.

In a testament to man's adaptability, a monument to the Boll Weevil was erected in the town of Enterprise, Alabama in 1919. It still stands at the center of town, a reminder of what Coffee county overcame in the early 1900's. The county was a cotton-growing region that was devastated by the destructive habits of the Boll Weevil. The economic impact was severe, but farmers persisted and started to diversify what they planted and began growing peanuts and other crops instead of cotton. Within two years, Coffee County, Alabama was producing more peanuts than any other in the U.S. and economically thriving again. To commemorate their appreciation for the lessons learned, they created the country's only monument to a pest. It celebrates mankind's ability to deal with adversity and succeed.
Basic Information
Common Name: Boll Weevil
Other Name(s): Weevil
Scientific Name: Anthonomus grandis
Category: Beetle


General Identification
Size (Adult; Length): 3mm to 13mm (0.12in to 0.51in)
Colorwheel Graphic
Identifying Colors: brown; gray
Additional Descriptors: harmful, snout, trunk, nose, anteater, hairy




Taxonomic Hierarchy
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Curculionidae
Genus: Anthonomus
Species: grandis


Beetle Anatomy
Graphic showing basic anatomy of a common North American Beetle insect
1
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
2
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
3
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
4
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
5
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
6
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
7
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.


Territorial Reach (A-to-Z)
Note: An insect's reach is not limited by lines drawn on a map and therefore species may appear in areas, regions and/or states beyond those listed below as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections below indicate that the subject in question has not been reported in that particular territory. U.S. states and Canadian provinces / territories are clickable to their respective bug listings.
Alabama
Alaska
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Connecticut
Delware
Florida
Georgia
Hawaii
Idaho
Illinois
Indiana
Iowa
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Michigan
Minnesota
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
Rhode Island
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Vermont
Virginia
Washington
West Virginia
Wisconsin
Wyoming
Canadian National Flag Graphic
Alberta
British Columbia
Manitoba
New Brunswick
Newfoundland and Labrador
Nova Scotia
Ontario
Prince Edward Island
Quebec
Saskatchewan
Mexican National Flag Graphic
Mexico


Territorial Area Map (Visual Reference Guide)
The map below showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Boll Weevil may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data can be useful in seeing concentrations of a particular species over the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some species are naturally confined by environment, weather, mating habits, food resources and the like while others see widespread expansion across most, or all, of North America.
Alaska  
Hawaii  
Prince Edward Is.  
State of Alabama graphic
State of Arizona graphic
State of Arkansas graphic
State of California graphic
State of Colorado graphic
State of Delware graphic
State of Florida graphic
State of Georgia graphic
State of Idaho graphic
State of Illinois graphic
State of Indiana graphic
State of Iowa graphic
State of Kansas graphic
State of Kentucky graphic
State of Louisiana graphic
State of Maine graphic
State of Maryland graphic
State of Michigan graphic
State of Minnesota graphic
State of Mississippi graphic
State of Missouri graphic
State of Montana graphic
State of Nebraska graphic
State of Nevada graphic
State of New England graphic
State of New Jersey graphic
State of New Mexico graphic
State of New York graphic
State of North Carolina graphic
State of North Dakota graphic
State of Ohio graphic
State of Oklahoma graphic
State of Oregon graphic
State of Pennsylvania graphic
State of South Carolina graphic
State of South Dakota graphic
State of Tennessee graphic
State of Texas graphic
State of Utah graphic
State of Virginia graphic
State of Washington graphic
State of West Virginia graphic
State of Wisconsin graphic
State of Wyoming graphic
Canadian territory of Alberta graphic
Canadian territory of British Columbia graphic
Canadian territory of Manitoba graphic
Canadian territory of New Brunswick graphic
Canadian territory of Newfoundland and Labrador graphic
Canadian territory of Ontario graphic
Canadian territory of Quebec graphic
Canadian territory of Saskatchewan graphic
Territory map graphic of the country of Mexico
Contiguous United States shape map layer graphic


Images Gallery for the Boll Weevil
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