Broad-Nosed Weevil: All You Need to Know in a Quick Guide

Broad-nosed weevils are a fascinating group of insects known for their distinctive snouts and plant-eating habits. These beetles come in various sizes and colors, and their feeding activities can result in various types of damage to plants, including holes in leaves, deformation, or even the death of the plant itself. For instance, the black vine weevil is a common pest that feeds at night and hides in debris and loose soil during the day.

One interesting characteristic of weevils is their ability to play dead when disturbed, tucking in their legs and lying motionless on their backs. This behavior serves as an effective defense mechanism against predators. Some weevil species can even invade homes, particularly when the weather is hot and dry, often seeking shelter through cracks or openings around buildings, as mentioned by the University of Minnesota Extension.

If you’re dealing with weevils, it’s crucial to understand their biology, habits, and effective control methods. In this article, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of broad-nosed weevils, discussing their characteristics, behavior, and overall impact on our environment. So, whether you’re a gardener, a scientist, or just someone who’s curious about these remarkable insects, keep reading to learn all you need to know about broad-nosed weevils.

Broad Nosed Weevil Basics

Taxonomy and Classification

The broad-nosed weevil belongs to the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, and order Coleoptera. Specifically, it is a member of the Curculionidae family, under the Entiminae subfamily. Broad-nosed weevils are part of the superfamily Curculionoidea and the infraclass Polyphaga.

Broad-nosed weevils are so named due to their distinct anatomy. They are characterized by:

  • Broad snouts
  • Antennae typically found closer to the tip of the snout
  • A hard exoskeleton
  • Small, oval-shaped bodies

Some examples of broad-nosed weevils include:

Here’s a comparison table of select broad-nosed weevils:

Weevil Species Primary Feeding Source Destructive to Plants?
Two-banded Japanese weevil Trees and shrubs Yes
Black vine weevil Roots and leaves of plants Yes
Strawberry root weevil Strawberry plants and roots Yes

Broad-nosed weevils can often cause damage, especially to the roots of various plants. However, some species such as the two-banded Japanese weevil are often overlooked due to their ability to blend in with vegetation. As part of the Coleoptera order, these insects share common characteristics with other beetles, which make them an interesting group within the animal kingdom.

Physical Characteristics

Rostrum

  • Broad-nosed weevils have a characteristic long, down-curving snout called a rostrum.
  • The rostrum is essential for feeding and laying eggs on host plants.

Broad-nosed weevils are known for their distinct snout, known as a rostrum. This elongated structure is crucial for feeding on plant tissues and depositing eggs inside host plants.

Antennae

  • Located halfway along the rostrum
  • Elbowed with small clubs at the end
  • First segment fits into a special groove on the snout

In addition to the rostrum, broad-nosed weevils possess antennae, which are typically located halfway along the snout. These antennae are elbowed in shape and feature small clubs at the end. Interestingly, the first segment of the antenna fits snugly into a special groove on the side of the snout.

Comparison of Rostrum & Antennae

Feature Rostrum Antennae
Purpose Feeding, laying eggs in host plants Sensing environment, navigation
Shape Long, down-curved snout Elbowed with small clubs
Location Front of the weevil’s head Halfway along the rostrum

As seen in the table above, the rostrum and antennae serve different functions and possess unique characteristics. Both the rostrum and antennae play an essential role in the life and survival of broad-nosed weevils.

Life Cycle and Biology

Larvae and Development

The life of a broad-nosed weevil starts as a small, white, C-shaped larva. They mostly feed on plant roots, growing and developing underground. The larvae undergo several molting stages before becoming pupae, which is when they transform into adults.

Adult Weevils

Adult weevils are small beetles, measuring about 0.13 to 0.2 inches (3.5-5 mm) in length, and come in various dull colors with markings of white, reddish, or black. One common feature is their short, broad snouts, allowing them to feed on different kinds of vegetation.

Here is a comparison table of larvae and adult weevils:

Life Stage Size Appearance Feeding habits
Larvae Tiny, C-shaped White Rootfeeders
Adult 0.13 – 0.2 inch Dull-colored Vegetation-feeders

Features

  • Broad-nosed weevil larvae are root-feeders
  • Adult weevils have a wide range of dull colors and distinct markings
  • Short, broad snouts allow adults to feed on various plants

In summary, broad-nosed weevil larvae focus on feeding on plant roots, while adult weevils consume different types of vegetation. They can be identified by their specific size, color, and the presence of a short, broad snout.

Habitat and Distribution

Europe

Otiorhynchus weevils, commonly known as broad-nosed weevils, are native to Europe. In this region:

  • They inhabit various landscapes, including gardens, forests, and farms
  • Common species include the vine weevil (Otiorhynchus sulcatus) and raspberry weevil (O. crataegi)

A few characteristics of these European weevils are:

  • They primarily feed on plants at night
  • Adults are flightless, relying on their strong legs for movement

North America

Broad-nosed weevils have also established themselves in North America, particularly in Washington. In this region:

  • The introduced Sitona weevil species have become common pests
  • They affect plants such as alfalfa, legumes, and clovers

Some features of Sitona weevils in North America include:

  • They can cause considerable damage to crops
  • Larvae feed on the nitrogen-fixing nodules of plants

Comparison between European and North American broad-nosed weevils:

European Weevils North American Weevils
Example Species Otiorhynchus sulcatus, O. crataegi Sitona sp.
Common Habitats Gardens, forests, farms Alfalfa fields, legume crops
Feeding Habits Adults are nocturnal Larvae feed on plant nodules
Movement Flightless, rely on strong legs Flightless, rely on strong legs

Interactions with Plants

Plant Feeding

Broad nosed weevils are known for their feeding habits. These insects primarily target:

  • Leaves
  • Flowers
  • Fruits

At night, adult weevils feed on various parts of plants, while during the day, they hide in debris and loose soil under plants1. Their mouthparts are adapted for chewing plant tissues, often causing serious damage to ornamentals and other susceptible crops. For instance, the Black Vine Weevil is a common pest that attacks many shrubs and herbaceous plants.

Damage

Damaging effects of broad nosed weevils can vary, but some common symptoms include:

  • Notched leaves
  • Chewed stems
  • Destroyed flowers

Weevil larvae, on the other hand, feed on plant roots2, which can lead to stunted growth and reduced plant vigor. For instance, the Sweetpotato Weevil larval stage causes severe damage to sweet potato crops.

Comparison of Adult and Larval Feeding Damage:

Adult Damage Larval Damage
Feeding Site Above ground Below ground
Plant Parts Leaves, flowers, fruits Roots

Managing broad nosed weevils in gardens and landscapes can be achieved through:

  • Monitoring and early detection
  • Removal of infested plants
  • Reducing hiding spots
  • Employing natural enemies

Combining these methods will help minimize the impact of weevils on plants and maintain a healthier garden.

Identification and Photo Guide

The Broad-nosed Weevil is a type of weevil belonging to the subfamily Entiminae. Here are some features to help identify them:

  • Short, broad snout
  • Antennae located near the tip of the snout
  • Oval-shaped body

A great photo can give you a clearer idea of their appearance.

Various species of Broad-nosed Weevils can be found using this clickable guide.

When comparing Broad-nosed Weevils to other weevils, here’s a summary:

Broad-nosed Weevil Other Weevils
Short, broad snout Long, thin snout
Antennae near tip of snout Antennae further back on snout
Common in subfamily Entiminae Can belong to various subfamilies

Keep in mind these are generalities: individual weevil species may have specific characteristics, behaviors, and habitats. Being brief and avoiding exaggerations, it is essential to use accurate information when identifying these insects.

Related Weevil Species

Bark Beetle

Bark beetles are a group of beetles that are known for their ability to infest and damage trees. They differ from broad-nosed weevils in several ways.

For example:

  • Bark beetles typically infest coniferous trees, whereas broad-nosed weevils attack a wider range of plants.
  • Bark beetles bore into the bark of trees, while broad-nosed weevils primarily feed on leaves.

Some characteristics of bark beetles include:

  • Small size, usually less than 1/4 inch in length
  • Cylindrical body shape
  • Hard outer wings

Here’s a comparison table between bark beetles and broad-nosed weevils:

Feature Bark Beetle Broad-nosed Weevil
Size Less than 1/4 inch Varies, up to 1/2 inch
Body Shape Cylindrical Oval, stout
Primary Hosts Coniferous trees Wide range of plants
Damage Caused Boring holes in tree bark Notching leaves

Some pros and cons of bark beetles as a species are:

Pros:

  • Help control weaker trees by culling them from the forest, promoting overall forest health

Cons:

  • Can cause large-scale devastation by killing entire stands of trees
  • Impact lumber and wood industries due to timber loss

In summary, bark beetles and broad-nosed weevils are two different types of beetles that cause damage to plants and trees. Being aware of their characteristics and differences can help in identifying and managing their populations effectively.

Footnotes

  1. https://extension.umd.edu/resource/weevils-trees-and-shrubs

  2. https://extension.umd.edu/resource/weevils-flowers

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Mating Broad-Nosed Weevils

 

who knows bug
Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 2:57 PM
These two have been hanging around for days. Wondering what they are. They look ancient. They are very small. Smaller than my little fingernail.
Christy
Southern New Mexico

Mating Broad-Nosed Weevils
Mating Broad-Nosed Weevils

Hi Christy,
These are mating Broad Nosed Weevils, most probably in the genus Ophryastes which are found in desert climates in the American Southwest.  We located images of this genus on BugGuide.

Letter 2 – Broad-Nosed Weevil

 

Clover Leaf Weevil
Location:  Kendall County, Illinois
August 25, 2010 6:48 pm
I thought you might like these photos to add to your weevil collection. I believe it is the Clover Leaf Weevil. We live in N. Illinois, on a farm. My daughter found it in her room. It probably came in on her clothes.
Stacy C

Broad-Nosed Weevil

Hi Stacy,
There is not enough detail in your image for us to be able to say for certain what the species is, but we agree that this Weevil is in the subfamily that contains the Clover Weevil, the Broad-Nosed Weevils, Entiminae.  You can compare your specimen to the individuals posted to BugGuide.

Letter 3 – Broad Nosed Weevil

 

Subject: whats this bug – san diego
Location: San Diego
May 19, 2015 3:36 pm
Hi Bugman, great responses!!
Signature: Jen

Broad Nosed Weevil
Broad Nosed Weevil

Dear Jen,
We were quite certain your beetle is a Weevil, and though we did not recognize it, we found its overly developed front legs to be a very distinctive physical feature.  As we searched the internet for an identification, our first lead was to Arizona: Beetles, Bug, Birds and more where we found an image identified as
Pandeleteius buchanani.  Not an exact match, it looked similar enough to cause us to search BugGuide where we found a California relative in the same genus, Pandeleteius defectus, but alas, there is no information posted on the species.  The species is also pictured on SoCal Fauna, but again there is no specific information so we cannot provide any information on the diet of this Broad Nosed Weevil.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Letter 1 – Mating Broad-Nosed Weevils

 

who knows bug
Tue, Oct 7, 2008 at 2:57 PM
These two have been hanging around for days. Wondering what they are. They look ancient. They are very small. Smaller than my little fingernail.
Christy
Southern New Mexico

Mating Broad-Nosed Weevils
Mating Broad-Nosed Weevils

Hi Christy,
These are mating Broad Nosed Weevils, most probably in the genus Ophryastes which are found in desert climates in the American Southwest.  We located images of this genus on BugGuide.

Letter 2 – Broad-Nosed Weevil

 

Clover Leaf Weevil
Location:  Kendall County, Illinois
August 25, 2010 6:48 pm
I thought you might like these photos to add to your weevil collection. I believe it is the Clover Leaf Weevil. We live in N. Illinois, on a farm. My daughter found it in her room. It probably came in on her clothes.
Stacy C

Broad-Nosed Weevil

Hi Stacy,
There is not enough detail in your image for us to be able to say for certain what the species is, but we agree that this Weevil is in the subfamily that contains the Clover Weevil, the Broad-Nosed Weevils, Entiminae.  You can compare your specimen to the individuals posted to BugGuide.

Letter 3 – Broad Nosed Weevil

 

Subject: whats this bug – san diego
Location: San Diego
May 19, 2015 3:36 pm
Hi Bugman, great responses!!
Signature: Jen

Broad Nosed Weevil
Broad Nosed Weevil

Dear Jen,
We were quite certain your beetle is a Weevil, and though we did not recognize it, we found its overly developed front legs to be a very distinctive physical feature.  As we searched the internet for an identification, our first lead was to Arizona: Beetles, Bug, Birds and more where we found an image identified as
Pandeleteius buchanani.  Not an exact match, it looked similar enough to cause us to search BugGuide where we found a California relative in the same genus, Pandeleteius defectus, but alas, there is no information posted on the species.  The species is also pictured on SoCal Fauna, but again there is no specific information so we cannot provide any information on the diet of this Broad Nosed Weevil.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Reader Emails

Over the years, our website, whatsthatbug.com has received hundreds of letters and some interesting images asking us about these insects. Scroll down to have a look at some of them.

Authors

    by
  • Bugman

    Bugman aka Daniel Marlos has been identifying bugs since 1999. whatsthatbug.com is his passion project and it has helped millions of readers identify the bug that has been bugging them for over two decades. You can reach out to him through our Contact Page.

  • Piyushi Dhir

    Piyushi is a nature lover, blogger and traveler at heart. She lives in beautiful Canada with her family. Piyushi is an animal lover and loves to write about all creatures.

Leave a Comment