Mating Weevils from India

Subject: Need ID: Bugs seen mating in Mumbai, India
Location: Mumbai, Maharashtra – India
August 9, 2016 12:45 am
Spotted these bugs in the moist deciduous forest in the monsoon season here in Mumbai.
Signature: Rizwan Mithawala

Unknown Mating Weevils
Unknown Mating Weevils

Dear Rizwan,
Your image of mating Weevils is quite stunning.  It depicts both the mating behavior and the damage the beetles make to the leaves while feeding.  Many Weevils are generalist feeders, meaning they do not limit their diet to a single plant, or even a single genus or family.  We are not sure of the species, and since Weevils are members of the largest family of animals on planet earth, and since India does not have the best online archive for insect identification, we are not even going to attempt a species identification, but we would challenge our readership to give it a try.

Dear Daniel,
Thank you so much for your help!
Could it be this one?
Asiatic oak weevil
Cyrtepistomus castaneus
Rizwan Mithawala
Photographer & Correspondent
The Times of India, Mumbai

Perhaps.  Was it feeding on Oak or Chestnut?

Sorry, I don’t know. Can you guess looking at the leaves?

sorry, we are What’s That Bug? not What’s That Leaf?

Hahaha…thanks for your help!

Unknown Mating Weevils
Unknown Mating Weevils

Our pleasure Rizwan.  Seriously, we really have no scientific credentials and this site began as a lark many years ago as part of an art project/writing collaboration.  Since knowing the plant upon which a particular insect is feeding is often a great assistance in the identification process, we are going back to your original uncropped image and posting it as well.  Weevils are such an enormous family, and though it does contain many colorful and distinctive species, most are rather drab and ordinary, and look alike to our relatively untrained eyes.  Proper identification of insects often includes careful examination of the actual specimen, counting things like antennae segments, or wing veins, or even the examination of genitalia, and all of that is well beyond our capabilities.  Additionally, many folks just want to know what something is in a general sense, and not a specific one.  We are pretty good at general.  Specific often eludes us.  We never really know what the purpose of an identification request is when we receive it.  Is it feeding on a treasured plant in the garden?  Was it seen on vacation?  Will it bite and kill me?  Is this an exotic introduction that will decimate the crops in its newly expanded range?  These are just some of the myriad possibilities that go unstated when a brief request is made.  Perhaps someday a real expert will see your image on our site and write in and comment with a proper identification.

Hi Daniel,
Thanks so much; really appreciate your interest and efforts. These pictures are shot for a newspaper story about how life flourishes in the monsoon (in the forest). It’s a photo-feature about the season of abundance, feeding and mating. Hence, I needed to identify the beetles and know their role in the forest ecosystem. Any additional information you can share will be of great help for me. Thanks!

Hi again Rizwan,
We suspect general weevil information will suffice for your readership, and exact species information might not be necessary.

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