Diaprepes Root Weevil

The gloriously iridescent diaprepes root weevil (Diaprepes abbreviatus) is, of course, an invasive species (native to the Caribbean) that infests crops — citrus, to be precise — and is therefore a pest, etc., etc. (I get so tired of reading that under every insect description! It’s not the weevil’s fault that it likes all the same crops we do.)

These gorgeous, big weevils are about 1-2 cm long. They are black, with iridescent scales on their elytra (wing covers). These scales can be white, red, orange or yellow, and are often rubbed off over the ridges of the elytra, giving the appearance of black stripes on a colored background. (This is why no two seem to have the exact same pattern of stripes.)

Female diaprepes root weevils can lay up to 5,000 eggs in her 3-4-month-long life. The eggs are laid on leaves, and the larvae fall off the leaves and burrow into the ground to feed on roots and pupate. When they emerge as adults, they use a pair of deciduous mandibles to dig their way out — once they are above ground, the appendages fall off.

They eat more than 270 different species of plants, including citrus (they are also known as the citrus root weevil), sugarcane, vegetables, strawberries, papaya, and ornamental plants.

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