Tuesday, June 9, 2009
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!!