Jewel Weevil (Eurhinus magnificus)
Detailing the physical features, habits, territorial reach and other identifying qualities of the Jewel Weevil.
Updated: 6/3/2016; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
The Jewel Weevil is a bright and gleaming newcomer to North America, looking like its precious namesake but with potential to become a pest.
A native to countries in Central America, the Jewel Weevil started making appearances in Florida in 2002. It was first seen in a plant nursery for ornamental plants and on a shipment of bananas the year after. Since then, the frequency of sightings and numbers increased and the species is now established in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Their host plant is the possum grape vine (also called princess vine). It is still unknown if this insect will threaten grapevines grown in Florida for food and vine production. The Jewel Weevil has no known biological controls yet, so research is needed in both areas.
Females embed a fertilized egg into the stem of the plant and a gall will form as the plant swells around the egg. Galls are swollen, round bumps on a stem. If cut open before hatching, eggs will be visible inside the gall. Galls on this plant with this species can grow to almost a centimeter in diameter on the stem and are usually found at the softer, younger parts of a stem. The larvae molt and pupate while inside their galls and emerge as adults. Adults feed on the plant stems and petioles (the leaf 'stem' that connects it to the main plant), then repeat the reproduction cycle. This insect activity at various life stages can cause overloaded stems to break, fall off, or fail to move nutrients to the rest of the vine.