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Dorsal habitus

Lateral habitus

Introduction

West Indian cane weevil or silky cane weevil, Metamasius hemipterus (Linnaeus) was first reported in Dade County in 1984 (Woodruff and Baranowski, 1985). The species is widely distributed throughout the West Indies, Central and South America (Vaurie, 1966). The species is recognized as a secondary pest of sugarcane and is attracted to stems damaged by mechanical cultivation, harvesting equipments, field rats, other plant borers, diseases or natural growth cracks. Larvae of this species are considered borers that tunnel through plant stems and petioles causing extensive damage. This weevil pest was first recorded infesting sugarcane in Belle Glade, Florida (Giblin-Davis et al., 1994; Sosa 1995).

Distribution

Widely distributed throughout the West Indies, Florida, Central and South America.

Hosts

Sugarcane, banana, plantain, and palms.

Damage

The adult stage of this weevil pest is free living, and often found on or within banana pseudostems, palm fronds, sugarcane sheets and leaf litter. While larvae feed on dead tissues often bore into and feed on healthy materials resulting in significant plant damage.

Biological and Ecological Notes

Adults can live for 60 days and female deposit and average of 500 eggs in her life time (Castrillon and Herrera, 1980). Usually, females are attracted to damaged or stressed sugarcane where these lay eggs (Giblin-Davis et al, 1994). Eggs hatch in about 4 days and young larvae begin feeding. After about 7 weeks feeding larvae pupate in a pupal case. After 10 days, adults emerge from the cocoon or may remain within the cocoon until environmental conditions are favorable for emergence (Woodruff and Baranowski, 1985).  

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Bibliography

Castrillon, C. and J.G. Herrera. 1980. Los picudos negro y rayado del plantano y banano. Ica-Informa, Separata, 4 p.

Giblin-Davis, R.M., J.E. Pena and R.E. Duncan. 1994. Lethal pitfall trap for evaluation of semiochemical mediated attraction of Metamasius hemipterus sericeus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Florida Entomologist 77: 247-255.

Sosa, O. 1995. The West Indian cane weevil and sugarcane rootstalk borer weevil-likely pest of sugarcane in Florida. Sugar Journal 58: 27-29.

Vaurie, P. 1966. A revision of the Neotropical genus Metamasius (Coleoptera: Curculionidae, Rhynchophorinae). Species group I and II. Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 131: 213-337.

Woodruff, R.E., R.M. Baranowski. 1985. Metamasius hemipterus (Linnaeus) recently established in Florida (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Divison of Plant Industry, Entomology Circular No. 272. 4 pp.