Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Cocklebur Weevil













This gorgeous red beetle is the "Cocklebur Weevil" (
Rhodobaenus quinquepunctatus). They range throughout the Eastern United States and portions of Canada. They are red with black spotting on their elytra and thorax. A distinct "diamond" shaped spot is located right in the middle of their pronotum. The black spotting on their wings run together to form patches of black. Legs and snout are black. There is a dark form of this weevil that have all black wings with red pronotum. Adults will be found on ragweed, cocklebur and other plants near these host plants. The young larva feed on the stems of ragweed and cocklebur. There is another species called the "Ironweed Curculio"(Rhodobaenus tredecimpunctatus) that is very similar to the cocklebur species. The main difference will be the lack of "Patches" on the wings. Instead the markings will look like dots on its elytra. They typically feed on sunflowers. Which is where the one to the left was photographed. They are located throughout most of the United States and have a broader range than the cocklebur weevil. Cockleburs and Sunflowers are the bain of most farmers, so these little beetles should be admired for their food choice. Helping the farmer to keep these often times annoying weeds under control. Those of you with allergies will appreciate the fact that the cocklebur weevil also loves ragweed...YEAH!! Munch away!!

7 comments:

  1. Where do you find all of these bugs? So many different species. Never seen this one before.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I literally walk our farm. I spend probably around 2 hours each evening when the weather is nice and walk my flower gardens, near the veggie garden and the perimeters of the farm. We also have farm ground in Fillmore, MO so I make a trip up there once a week and walk around. Needless to say the house work gets pretty well neglected until cold weather sets in...LOL. priorities ya know..hehe. If you know someone with sunflowers you will probably find at least one of the two species pictures here.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sherry-I just had this little beetle identified on BugGuide. He was sitting on a voodoo lily in my Missouri backyard but now that I know these beetles are an enemy of ragweed...which my Kansas land is FULL of....I wish I could have captured the little guy and driven him in a limousine to my land in Kansas to experience unlimited future meals of giant ragweed. Maybe a couple bottles of a fine wine too. Well, hope my little superhero finds something that is equivalently nasty to take down in this neighborhood. As always, thanks for the info.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Uh.....just backtracking here. Did I call you Sherry, Shelly? Gawd. Sorry about that.

    You will never believe what my security word is....BASHED. Close enough.

    Call me A-bashed.
    Maria

    ReplyDelete
  5. LOL Maria...you crack me up. At the paper where I used to work there was a lady that persisted in calling me Shirley. No matter how many times I answered the phone..."This is Shelly" she would also say to me "have a great day Shirley" right before hanging up...LOL. It finally got to be funny. I like the whole idea of inviting these beetles in for a "Wine and Dine". Lord knows we have enough ragweed and cockleburs to keep them fed for years!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I answer to anything that starts with an M to tell you the truth. My neighbor across the street always calls me Michelle and I've never corrected him because for a couple minutes it's fun to pretend that I AM a Michelle. Glad no offense was taken. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. LOL, I am the same way...I used to get mail from a girl I went to school with, her name was Sherry Williams and mine was Shelly Williams. Her progress reports from school would come to my house with all her F's. My mom would open them thinking they were mine, until I finally convinced her there REALLY was a Sherry Williams and the school screwed up...LOL

    ReplyDelete