Location: Systematic Entomology LaboratoryTitle: Synthesis of known and new host plant records of the Fijian Ginger Weevil, Elytroteinus geophilus (Lucas) (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Cryptorhynchinae) suggests a preference for starch-storing plant organs
|WHITEHOUSE, RYAN - Mississippi State University|
Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 7/29/2019
Publication Date: 7/31/2019
Citation: Whitehouse, R., Chamorro, M.L. 2019. Synthesis of known and new host plant records of the Fijian Ginger Weevil, Elytroteinus geophilus (Lucas) (Coleoptera, Curculionidae, Cryptorhynchinae) suggests a preference for starch-storing plant organs. Insects. 10(229):1-7.
Interpretive Summary: The Fijian Ginger Weevil is listed by the USDA among the top ranking high-risk insect pests threatening U.S. Agriculture. This species has a wide range of host plants, causes moderate damage to crops such as kava, ginger, yams, and sweet potatoes and, more importantly, has been linked, along with two wound invading fungal pathogens, to passion fruit rot. We report on the interception of this weevil in Alabama in a previously unreported host plant, bulbs of Tropical Spider Lily. A second new host plant record and the discovery of the ability of this weevil to make fibrous cocoons as a larvae was achieved by examination of museum specimens in the National Weevil Collection. A synthesis of known and new host plants records suggests a preference by this weevil of starch-storing plant organs, which helps explain the wide range of host plant families preferred by this weevil. These new discoveries have the potential to significantly impact current management strategies aimed at mitigating the spread of this highly polyphagous high-risk weevil pest.
Technical Abstract: Elytroteinus geophilus is a polyphagous weevil that is widespread in the South Pacific islands and is known to cause damage to various crops with large nutrient storage structures such as kava, ginger, yellow passion fruit, yams and sweet potatoes. More significantly, the Fijian Ginger Weevil has been linked, along with two wound invading fungal pathogens that cause passion fruit collar rot in Samoa. This species is considered a high-risk insect pest and it is included in the USDA’s prioritized offshore pest list. We report on two new plant hosts and a previously unreported behavior of this weevil. The first new host record resulted from interception of this weevil in bulbs of Tropical Spider Lily in Alabama. This interception initiated an examination of museum specimens and the literature that resulted in a second previously unreported host record (vanilla, Orchidaceae) and a new behavioral trait for this weevil: the use of plant fibers to spin a cocoon for pupation. A synthesis of known and new host plants records is here reported and suggests a preference by this weevil of starch-storing plant organs. A distribution map and a differential diagnosis of the species is also provided.