The Jewel Weevil is a bright and gleaming newcomer to North America that looks better than it behaves.
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 then again on a shipment of bananas the year after. Since then, the frequency of sightings and its numbers increased. Now the species is well established in Florida's Miami-Dade and Broward counties. Their preferred host plant is the possum grape vine (also called princess vine). It is still unknown if this insect will threaten other vine plants, like grapevines grown in Florida. 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 made by this particular species can grow to almost a centimeter in diameter on the stem. Softer, younger parts of a stem are prime targets for infiltration. The larvae molt and pupate while inside their galls and emerge as adults. Adults feed on the plant's stems and leaf petioles, then they repeat the reproduction cycle. This insect's feeding and breeding activity can choke stems trying to move nutrients. The weight of the galls can even cause them to break.
Scientific Name: Eurhinus magnificus
Size (Adult; Length): 4mm to 6mm (0.16in to 0.23in)
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 above as they are driven by environmental factors (such as climate change), available food supplies and mating patterns. Grayed-out selections 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.
Antennae: Beetles have a pair of antennae on the head used as sensors.
Head: The head is home to the insect's eyes, antennae, and mandibles (jaws).
Thorax: Holds the three pairs of legs as well as vital internal organs.
Elytron: One of two wing cases on a Beetle that protects its wings (plural: elytra).
Wings: Appendages used for flying and kept under the elytra until needed.
Abdomen: Houses organs related to circulation, reproduction, and excretion.
Legs: Beetles have three pairs of legs located at the thorax, numbering six legs in all.