Thursday, September 03, 2015

Dry country weevil

The weevils I see in the Lower Mainland are dark brown or grey, almost black; a good colour for invisibility against wet soil under cloudy skies.

When I stopped for lunch at the side of the road near the Coquihalla Summit, I saw this weevil only because I was watching ants collecting my crumbs; so well he blended in to the browns and the glare of this dry country that when I went for the camera, I had to look hard to find him again, although he was in the same place, playing dead.

Knapweed root weevil, Cyphocleonus achates

This is an introduced species, brought over from Europe to help control knapweed infestations in rangeland. (The knapweed was also introduced, and tends to become invasive without native pests to keep it under control.)

I brushed the weevil over to a spot where there was a bit of green and shade for contrast. He was still playing dead; weevils are good at that.

The adults eat knapweed leaves; the larvae burrow into the roots.

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