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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Miami, Florida » Subtropical Horticulture Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #390384

Research Project: Mitigation of Invasive Pest Threats to U.S. Subtropical Agriculture

Location: Subtropical Horticulture Research

Title: Biology of Anthonomus testaceosquamosus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae): a new pest of tropical hibiscus

item REVYNTHI, ALEXANDRA - University Of Florida
item VELAZQUEZ HERNANDEZ, YISELLE - University Of Florida
item CANON, MARIA - University Of Florida
item GREENE, DANIEL - University Of Florida
item VARGAS, GERMAN - University Of Florida
item Kendra, Paul
item MANNION, CATHARINE - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Insects
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/20/2021
Publication Date: 12/22/2021
Citation: Revynthi, A.M., Velazquez Hernandez, Y., Canon, M.A., Greene, D.A., Vargas, G., Kendra, P.E., Mannion, C.M. 2021. Biology of Anthonomus testaceosquamosus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae): a new pest of tropical hibiscus. Insects. 13(1):13.

Interpretive Summary: The hibiscus bud weevil (HBW), native to Mexico and southern Texas, was first detected in south Florida in 2017. Since then, its numbers have continued to increase in Florida, and this pest now causes significant economic losses to the Florida hibiscus industry. Development of integrated pest management for HBW requires a comprehensive understanding of the weevil's biology. Scientists from the University of Florida and USDA-ARS (Miami, FL) conducted controlled lab studies to determine the effect of temperature and diet on HBW growth, development and reproduction. Life cycle completion was found to occur at an optimal temperature of 27°C, and weevils developed faster on hibiscus buds than on an artificial diet. Adult HBW could survive solely on hibiscus pollen, but no eggs were produced. HBW could survive for 15 days without water, and 30 days when water was available. This research provides fundamental data on the basic biology of HBW, and directs future research on the development of pest management strategies for this new invasive pest in Florida.

Technical Abstract: Originating in northeastern Mexico and southern Texas, the hibiscus bud weevil (HBW), Anthonomus testaceosquamosus Linell, was discovered infesting China rose hibiscus (Hibiscus rosa-sinensis L.) in south Florida in May 2017. Although the biologies of the congeneric boll weevil, A. grandis Boheman, and pepper weevil, A. eugenii Cano are well documented, no data are available regarding the biology of HBW. Here, we present a comprehensive study on the biology of this pest when reared at temperatures ranging from 10-34 °C and on different food sources. Life cycle completion was found to occur only at 27 ± 1 °C. Weevil development took longer on an artificial diet when compared with a diet of hibiscus buds. Adult HBW could survive solely on pollen, but reproduction did not occur. Without water, HBW survived for ˜ 15 days; survival times reached nearly 30 days when water was accessible. Our results suggest that if left unmanaged, HBW has the potential to cause significant economic damage to the hibiscus industry. Given that a comprehensive understanding of a pest’s biology is critical for development of effective integrated pest management, our results provide a foundation for future research endeavors to mitigate the impact of this weevil in south Florida.