Whitefringed Weevil

The whitefringed beetle, or whitefringed weevil, Naupactus leucoloma, is originally from South America but can now be found across the southern US, Australia, and South Africa.

They are a type of weevil with a broad, down-pointing snout. Adults are relatively large for a weevil, around 12 mm long. N. leucoma is light to dark gray-brown with characteristic white stripes down each side of the body, and two pale longitudinal lines on each side of the thorax and head. They cannot fly, having fused wing covers and only rudimentary wings.

The larvae live in the soil as fat white grubs and eat plant roots, feeding on over 385 species of plants, including crops like cotton, peanuts, soybeans, peas, and sweet potatoes. They can cause serious damage to crops, as well as orchard and forestry trees. The flightless adults do not spread rapidly, but because they eat so many different crops, they can readily move from one location to the next as there is always a ready source of food. The larvae can be controlled by regular tilling of the soil as well as by rotation of less weevil-attractant crops such as cereals or grains between batches of more desirable crops.

All adult whitefringed weevils are female; the species reproduces via parthenogenesis. (Males have been found occasionally in South America, but nowhere where the species has been introduced.) Females lay eggs regularly throughout their two- to five-month lifespan; one female can lay over 2000 eggs at more than 150 per day.

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