09 November 2015

Armadillo Weevils have arrived in Swansea


Otiorhynchus armadillo, female
Similar in appearance and habits to the commonly seen Black Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus, Armadillo Weevils, Otiorhynchus armadillo, are recent arrivals from continental Europe, where they are a serious pest species. So far only recorded from a handful of other locations in the UK (in which they appear to have become successfully established), they have now been confirmed from Swansea. In contrast to O. sulcatus, which is parthenogenetic, there are males in O. armadillo. In fact, spotting a mating pair of what superficially looked like O. sulcatus in my garden is what piqued my interest and led to the subsequent identification of the individuals as O. armadillo. Identification was kindly made by M.G. Morris after I approached him for assistance as the recently introduced O. armadillo is not included in his 1997 key to broad-nosed weevils. Viewed side by side, O. armadillo is somewhat stouter and broader and of a slightly lighter colour than O. sulcatus. O. armadillo also lacks spines on the undersides of the femora. It tends to move more slowly and in a more deliberate manner, and does not death-feign as readily as O. sulcatus. While O. armadillo is reasonably easy to distinguish from O. sulcatus, it is very similar to O. salicicola, another recent arrival from the continent, which could cause confusion if the latter also becomes more widespread. Max Barclay, curator of beetles at the Natural History Museum, has published the definitive paper on O. armadillo and O. sulcatus in Britain.

Barclay, M.V.L. (2003). Otiorhynchus (s. str.) armadillo (Rossi, 1792) and Otiorhynchus (s. str.) salicicola Heyden, 1908 (Curculionidae: Entiminae: Otiorhynchini) – two European vine weevils established in Britain. The Coleopterist12, 41 – 56.v

Thanks are due to Paul D. Brock for photographing the specimens

 Otiorhynchus armadillo, male

Otiorhynchus armadillo, mating pair

4 comments:

Barry Stewart said...

One to keep an eye open for. On the weevil theme, a friend brought some weevils round last week, which he suspected were from rice in the kitchen cupboard. Unsurprisingly it turned out they were Rice Weevils (Sitophilus oryzae), which was a new species for me.

Barry Stewart said...

PS. Good spot and very images by Paul

GMT said...

I found one of these on Dogwood at Coryton roundabout, Cardiff, earlier this year - the ID was confirmed by Max Barclay from a photo. There is also one other previous Cardiff record. I believe this species has become a major pest of ornamental shrubs in London.

George

Ian Morgan said...

I saw some copulating `vine weevils` this summer at Pwll, Llanelli, Carms....they could well have been armadillo.