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Palmetto Weevil (Rhynchophorus cruentatus)

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

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Look for the Palmetto Weevil where their favorite food grows: in lands where the palm trees sway.

Updated: 01/04/2022; Authored By Staff Writer; Content ©www.InsectIdentification.org
Coastal states in the U.S. Southeast and northeast Mexico are warm and humid enough to grow palms, so it follows that the Palmetto Weevil is found there as well. All Palmetto Weevils are not completely identical to each other. One popular color form is red with black dots or line in the middle of the pronotum by the head, and five large black on the wing coverings. Another form is entirely black, and there are other individuals that fall somewhere between both variations. All have the long 'snout' and short, bent antennae that are typical of weevils. Their ?snout? is textured with tiny bumps. This is the biggest weevil found in North America and can grow just over 3 cm (just over an inch) long.

The young weevil, or grub, is destructive thanks to its feeding behavior. The plump, white, wormy grubs eat away at the crown of the palm which can cause it to fall off the tree. Cabbage palm and date palms appear to have broken their necks when this happens and the condition is called ?popped neck?. Infestation of a palm may first be realized when young leaves start bending downward. It is difficult to treat a tree that is already infested, and it will likely die. In order to reduce a population, removing and destroying an affected tree right away kills eggs that were laid. Keeping palms healthy and quickly removing ones that are not, even if they are not noticeably infested, may help reduce the insect?s interest in the area©InsectIdentification.org

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General Characteristics

Capability, Shape, Texture/Pattern, Benefits, Dangers
Insect antennae icon
Patterned insect icon
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Taxonomic Hierarchy

Species Breakdown
Kingdom: Animalia
  Phylum: Arthropoda
    Class: Insecta
      Order: Coleoptera
        Family: Curculionidae
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          Genus: Rhynchophorus
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            Species: cruentatus

Identifying Information

Size, Colors, Features
Scientific Name: Rhynchophorus cruentatus
Category: Beetle
Size (Adult; Length): 19mm to 31mm (0.74" to 1.22")
Colorwheel Graphic Colors: red; black
Descriptors: five black spots; 5 black dots; beak; snout; nose; long; short bent antennae; pest

Relative Size Comparison

Typical Size Between 19mm (0.7in) and 31mm (1.2in)
Lo: 19mm
Md: 25mm
Hi: 31mm

Territorial Map*

U.S., Canada, and Mexico
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Prince Edward Is.  
* MAP NOTES: The territorial heat map above showcases (in red) the states and territories of North America where the Palmetto Weevil may be found (but is not limited to). This sort of data is useful when attempting to see concentrations of particular species across the continent as well as revealing possible migratory patterns over a species' given lifespan. Some insects 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. States/Territories shown above are a general indicator of areas inhabited by the Palmetto Weevil. Insects generally go where they please, typically driven by diet, environmental changes, and / or mating habits.
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