Invasive Weevil Scare
A few days ago I collected this in my driveway:
Curious, because I had never seen a weevil like it before, I forwarded a picture to an entomologist at UCR for ID. He originally misidentified it as Diaprepes abbreviatus.
(note, there is considerable variability in coloration, since this is at least partly a PSA, I selected a picture of a typical individual instead of one that looked the most like my specimen)
The Diaprepes root weevil is an invasive generalist herbivore that is destructive of numerous economically important plants, both ornamental and edible. Of particular concern is its role in increasing susceptibility of citrus and avocado to Phytophthera root rot. It has been found in Los Angeles, Orange and San Diego Counties and a quarantine has been enacted to confine it.
It has not (yet) been found in Ventura County so as you can imagine, this caused quite a stir.
It has now been identified as: Sphenophorus pertinax a native weevil of the type commonly known as billbugs:
Of course, if history is any guide, all we can hope to do is to slow the rate of spread until Diaprepes abbreviatus is stopped by some biogeographic barrier while we learn how to mitigate its impact, but for now, it appears to remain contained in the quarantine zone.
edited to repair broken link
This post was edited by socal23 on Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 18:00