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Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus

By N A Martin (2016)

Classification

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Class:
Insecta
Order:
Coleoptera
Superfamily:
Curculionoidea
Family:
Curculionidae
Subfamily:
Entiminae
Tribe:
Aterpini
Scientific Name:
Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Fabricius, 1775)
  • Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), about 10 mm long.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), about 10 mm long. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), tunnelling in stem of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), tunnelling in stem of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Common Names

Haloragis weevil, Haloragis stem weevil, Toatoa stem weevil
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Synonyms

Curculio acuminatus Fabricius, 1775
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Biostatus and Distribution

This endemic weevil lives on Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae). The larva tunnels through plant stems. The weevil is found where its host plant grows in the North and South Islands and Chatham islands.

Conservation status: Widespread, not threatened.

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Life Stages and Annual Cycle

Brenda May, in her study of weevil larvae, found adult Haloragis weevil, Rhadinosomus acuminatus, all through the year on Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta, plants at Huia, Auckland. In early summer they took three months to develop from egg to adults, while an overwintering generation took much longer.

Adults are typical weevils, each one with six legs, hard wing covers (elytra) and a long snout (rostrum). They are about10 mm long and much longer than wide. The weevils are dark coloured with white flecks and on each wing cover a small white patch. Their wings, which are longer than the wing covers, are kept safely folded up under the wing covers, except when needed for flying. Each wing cover ends in a distinctive sharp point. A pair of jaws, or mandibles, is at the end of the rostrum and on either side of the mouth. The antennae are also attached near the tip of the rostrum and terminal segments form a club. The antennae may be folded neatly under the head. At the base of each antenna are two grooves, one for holding the antenna when it is at rest and another for holding the antenna when it is pointing upwards and forwards.

After they emerge from the pupal chambers, adult males and females find one another and mate. Some may fly to new patches of host plants. Adults may be seen on their host plant during the day.

Eggs and larvae
Female weevils lay eggs singly on the underside of a young leaf. The slightly convex eggs are cemented into position with anal mucus and covered with green liquid excreta that when dry makes the eggs almost invisible. After hatching from an egg, most larvae chew a hole into the leaf and tunnel through it to the midrib. It then tunnels down the midrib and petiole (stalk) into the stem. Some larvae after hatching feed on flower buds before tunnelling into the stem. The larvae spend the rest of their life tunnelling in the plant stem. Larvae are whitish, with no legs and a brown head capsule. Larvae have large jaws at the front of the head. As a larva grows, it changes skins (moults). It is not known how many larval stages (instars) this weevil has. Larval development usually takes several months.

Pupa
When it is fully grown, the larva probably makes a cell (chamber) in the woody stem. The larva changes into a pupa in the cell. Weevil pupa are usually white with all the appendages of the adult weevil visible - long legs, rostrum (snout), wings and wing cases. On emergence from the pupal skin, the adult weevil usually stays in the pupal chamber until its skin (cuticle) hardens and darkens. After leaving the pupal chamber males and females find each other and mate.

Feeding
Both adult and larval weevils have chewing mouth parts. The mandibles of the adult are at the tip of the rostrum. The adults are assumed to feed on young shrubby haloragis leaves.
The larva also has mandibles (jaws) at the front of its head. It uses them to create a tunnel (mine) in the leaf and stem. First stage (instar) larva ingests the internal tissue of the leaf and stalk leaving the upper and lower skins (epidermis) of the leaf intact. The larvae then tunnel through the stem. The older larvae tunnel down the centre of the stem and can feed on the pith and woody tissue. The digested leaf and stem tissue is excreted as discrete pellets (frass) that back-fill the tunnel.

  • Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), photomontage of a museum specimen, dorsal, top side. Image: Birgit E Rhode © Landcare Research
    Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), photomontage of a museum specimen, dorsal, top side. Image: Birgit E Rhode © Landcare Research
  • Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), photomontage of a museum specimen. Image: Birgit E Rhode © Landcare Research
    Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), photomontage of a museum specimen. Image: Birgit E Rhode © Landcare Research
  • Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), about 10 mm long. The antennae are tucked under the head. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), about 10 mm long. The antennae are tucked under the head. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of an adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Upper side of the head an adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Note the sharp jaws at the tip of the head. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of the head an adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Note the sharp jaws at the tip of the head. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of the head an adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Note the sharp jaws at the tip of the head and the antennae tucked under the head. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of the head an adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Note the sharp jaws at the tip of the head and the antennae tucked under the head. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), head to show the deep groove in which the antennae sit when folded under the head. Note the shorter forward pointing groove for when the antennae are held forwards. Image: Birgit E Rhode © Landcare Research
    Side view of adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), head to show the deep groove in which the antennae sit when folded under the head. Note the shorter forward pointing groove for when the antennae are held forwards. Image: Birgit E Rhode © Landcare Research
  • Side view of an adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Note the antennae tucked under the head. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of an adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Note the antennae tucked under the head. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A pair of mating Haloragis weevils: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). The male is on top. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A pair of mating Haloragis weevils: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). The male is on top. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Drawing of an egg of Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), and the tunnel made by the small larva in the leaf of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae).  Image: Brenda May © Drawing  published in Fauna of New Zealand, 1993. 28: 1-223, figure 568
    Drawing of an egg of Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), and the tunnel made by the small larva in the leaf of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae). Image: Brenda May © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand, 1993. 28: 1-223, figure 568
  • Drawing of a larva of Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Image: Brenda May © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand, 1993. 28: 1-223, figure 558
    Drawing of a larva of Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Image: Brenda May © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand, 1993. 28: 1-223, figure 558
  • Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), side view.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), side view. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), dorsal view.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), dorsal view. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), tunnelling in stem of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), tunnelling in stem of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Recognition

This is the only large, long weevil known to live on Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae). The weevil also has distinctive pointed ends to its wing covers, elytra.

The presence of the weevil in a plant can be recognised by the leaf mine and the tunnelling in the young shoots by the larvae. This is the only beetle known to tunnel through live stems, so the presence of weevil larvae in stems also enables recognition of the insect.

  • Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), about 10 mm long.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), about 10 mm long. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Drawing of an egg of Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), and the tunnel made by the small larva in the leaf of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae).  Image: Brenda May © Drawing  published in Fauna of New Zealand, 1993. 28: 1-223, figure 568
    Drawing of an egg of Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), and the tunnel made by the small larva in the leaf of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae). Image: Brenda May © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand, 1993. 28: 1-223, figure 568
  • Stem mine in young stem of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae) made by a small larva of a Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Stem mine in young stem of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae) made by a small larva of a Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), tunnelling in stem of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), tunnelling in stem of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Natural Enemies

Two species of wasp parasitoids have been reared from larvae of the Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus. No natural enemies of the adults are known, but they are probably preyed on by birds, spiders and predatory insects.

Table: Natural enemies of Haloragis weevil, Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), from Plant-SyNZ database (20 December 2016). The reliability index shows the quality of evidence for the host association (0-10, 10=high quality).
Scientific NameCommon NameClassificationEnemy TypeReliability IndexBiostatus
Pteromalidae sp. (May 1993) (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Pteromalidaeparasitoid5endemic
Xanthocryptus novozealandicus (Dalla Torre, 1902) (Wasp)Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidaeparasitoid10unknown
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Host Plants

The Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), lives on Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae). This is its only known host plant.

Plant damage
Dr Kuschel observed adult weevils feeding on young leaves and flowers. Brenda May reported that newly hatched larvae may feed on flower buds, but most tunnelled through the young leaf from their egg to the leaf midrib. They then tunnel down the midrib and through the leaf stalk (petiole) into the stem. Up to four larvae may be found in their own tunnels in a single stem.

  • Drawing of an egg of Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), and the tunnel made by the small larva in the leaf of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae).  Image: Brenda May © Drawing  published in Fauna of New Zealand, 1993. 28: 1-223, figure 568
    Drawing of an egg of Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), and the tunnel made by the small larva in the leaf of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae). Image: Brenda May © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand, 1993. 28: 1-223, figure 568
  • Stem mine in young stem of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae) made by a small larva of a Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Stem mine in young stem of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae) made by a small larva of a Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), tunnelling in stem of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae).  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), tunnelling in stem of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta (Haloragaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Bug Signs

Metal outdoor signs are available for placement in reserves, Regional and National parks, urban parks and school grounds. They can be bought from Metal Images Ltd, www.metalimage.co.nz/bushbirdandbug.html. They come in two sizes, 100 x 200 mm, 194 x 294 mm. The signs can be bought ready mounted on a stand that need to be ‘planted’ in the ground, or they can be bought unmounted with holes for fixing into your own mounts.

The signs for the Haloragis weevil are best placed by plants of Shrubby haloragis, Haloragis erecta especially plants where adult weevils have been seen.

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Information Sources

May BM. 1993. Larvae of Curculionoidea (Insecta: Coleoptera): a systematic overview. Fauna of New Zealand. 28: 1-223.

Kuschel G. 1970. New Zealand Curculionoidea from Captain Cook’s voyages (Coleoptera). New Zealand Journal of Science 133: 191-205.

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Acknowledgements

Chris Winks for helpful comments on the draft factsheet.

The New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research Limited (Plant & Food Research) for permission to use photographs.

Landcare Research New Zealand Limited (Landcare Research) for permission to use photographs.

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Other Images

  • Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), side view.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), side view. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), dorsal view.  Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Larval Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), dorsal view. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), photomontage of a museum specimen. Image: Birgit E Rhode © Landcare Research
    Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), photomontage of a museum specimen. Image: Birgit E Rhode © Landcare Research
  • Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), photomontage of a museum specimen. Image: Birgit E Rhode © Landcare Research
    Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), photomontage of a museum specimen. Image: Birgit E Rhode © Landcare Research
  • Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), showing sharp mandibles. Antenna folded under head. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult Haloragis weevil: Rhadinosomus acuminatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), showing sharp mandibles. Antenna folded under head. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Suggested Citation

Martin NA. 2016. Haloragis weevil - Rhadinosomus acuminatus. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 34. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. Date Accessed. ISSN 1179-643X.

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