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Hebe leaf & stem borer - Oreocalus albosparsus

By N A Martin (2018)

Classification

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Class:
Insecta
Order:
Coleoptera
Superfamily:
Curculionoidea
Family:
Curculionidae
Scientific Name:
Oreocalus albosparsus (Broun, 1913)
  • Side view of an adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long rostrum with antennae near the tip. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of an adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long rostrum with antennae near the tip. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in or on their burrows in cut open stems of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in or on their burrows in cut open stems of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Common Names

Hebe leaf & stem borer
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Synonyms

Oreocharis albosparsus Broun, 1913
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Biostatus and Distribution

This endemic weevil lives in its Hebe shrub host plant, Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). The weevil has been found in West Auckland, though it may live elsewhere on its host plant which is found in coastal and upland areas from the Waitato Northwards.

Conservation status: Unknown, but unlikely to be threatened.

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Life Stages and Annual Cycle

The Adults are typical weevils, each has six legs, hard wing covers (elytra) and a long snout (rostrum). They are about 5 mm long and dark brown. Their wings, which are longer than the wing covers, are kept safely folded up under the elytra, except when needed for flying. The two jaws, or mandibles, are at the end of the rostrum and on either side of the mouth. The antennae are also attached near the tip of the rostrum.

Eggs and larvae
Female weevils lay eggs singly by the mid rib of young leaves. After hatching from its egg the larva burrows into the mid rib of the leaf and tunnels down it and through the short leaf stalk into the stem. It first tunnels up the young stem, then turns round and burrows down into the woody stem tissue. Larvae are pale brown, with no legs and a brown head capsule that has a strong V-shaped invagination on the upper (dorsal) side. 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. Eggs are laid in the young leaves in summer. Larvae reach full size by late winter.

Pupa
When it is fully grown, the larva creates a pupation chamber within the stem of its host plant. The two ends are packed with the waste wood from the larva’s chewing out the chamber. Near the head of the pupa the wood has been chewed away leaving a window of epidermis covering the opening though which the adult escapes. The pupa is white with all the appendages of the adult weevil visible - long legs, rostrum (snout), wings and wing cases. In spring, on emergence from the pupal skin, the adult weevil stays in the pupal chamber until its skin (cuticle) hardens and darkens. The adult leaves through the thinly covered hole made by the larva. After leaving the pupal chamber the males and females find one another and mate. The female probably feeds on the plant before laying eggs in suitable young leaves.

Feeding
Both adult and larval weevils have chewing mouth parts.

The mandibles of the adult are at the tip of the rostrum. When the adult wants to feed, the rostrum is pushed onto the leaf surface and the mandibles bite the leaf tissue.

The larva also has mandibles (jaws) at the front of its head. It uses them to create a tunnel in the midrib of the leaf and in the plant stem. The digested leaf tissue and stem is excreted as discrete pellets (frass) that back-fill the mine or tunnel.

  • Upper side of an adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long rostrum with antennae near the tip. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of an adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long rostrum with antennae near the tip. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of an adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long rostrum with antennae near the tip. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of an adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long rostrum with antennae near the tip. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of an adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long rostrum with antennae near the tip. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of an adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long rostrum with antennae near the tip. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrow along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem: note the circular egg scar at the start of the burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrow along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem: note the circular egg scar at the start of the burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Upper side of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrow along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem: note the circular egg scar near the start of the burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrow along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem: note the circular egg scar near the start of the burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with two burrows along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the circular egg scars at the start of each burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with two burrows along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the circular egg scars at the start of each burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Upper side of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with two burrows along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the circular egg scars at the start of each burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with two burrows along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the circular egg scars at the start of each burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with hole in place where leaf was attached to the stem. The hole was made by a young weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled from its leaf mine into the plant stem. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with hole in place where leaf was attached to the stem. The hole was made by a young weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled from its leaf mine into the plant stem. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) dissected from its burrow in stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) dissected from its burrow in stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Drawing of a larva of Hebe leaf & stem borer weevil, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae). Image: Brenda May © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand 1987, vol 28, fig. 117.
    Drawing of a larva of Hebe leaf & stem borer weevil, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae). Image: Brenda May © Drawing published in Fauna of New Zealand 1987, vol 28, fig. 117.
  • Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in or on their burrows in cut open stems of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in or on their burrows in cut open stems of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  •  Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) on its cut open burrow in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) on its cut open burrow in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open burrow in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open burrow in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  •  Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open burrow in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae): note the fatty tissue in this larva. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open burrow in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae): note the fatty tissue in this larva. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Mature weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open pupation chamber in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae): note that near the head the white wood has been removed just leaving the epidermis of the stem. Image: Darren Snaith © Plant & Food Research
    Mature weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open pupation chamber in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae): note that near the head the white wood has been removed just leaving the epidermis of the stem. Image: Darren Snaith © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open pupation chamber in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae): note the brown larva head capsule: note that near the head the white wood has been removed just leaving the epidermis of the stem. Image: Darren Snaith © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open pupation chamber in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae): note the brown larva head capsule: note that near the head the white wood has been removed just leaving the epidermis of the stem. Image: Darren Snaith © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open pupation chamber in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae): note the brown larva head capsule. Image: Darren Snaith © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open pupation chamber in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae): note the brown larva head capsule. Image: Darren Snaith © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open pupation chamber in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae): note the brown larva head capsule and that near the head, the white wood has been removed just leaving the epidermis of the stem. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open pupation chamber in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae): note the brown larva head capsule and that near the head, the white wood has been removed just leaving the epidermis of the stem. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open pupation chamber in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae): note the dark eyes of the almost mature pupa. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its cut open pupation chamber in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae): note the dark eyes of the almost mature pupa. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its pupation chamber in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in its pupation chamber in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Recognition

There are many kinds of small weevils in New Zealand. They can only be distinguished by an expert. At least nine species of the genus Oreocalus have larvae that burrow into stems of Hebe, shrubby Veronica species. The Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus is the only species that burrows into live stems of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae), though other weevils burrow in its dead stems.

The presence of the larvae in a plant can be recognized by the distinct mine in the mid rib of leaves. The presence of wilted shoots is a signal to look for the mid rib mine.

Larvae of several leaf mining flies. Liriomyza species (Agromyzidae), form mines in the leaf lamina and are very different from the weevil mines that are restricted to the mid rib.

  • Upper side of two leaves of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrows along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of two leaves of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrows along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • A shoot of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with a midrib leaf mine and a wilted tip caused by a weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled through the leaf and stem. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    A shoot of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with a midrib leaf mine and a wilted tip caused by a weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled through the leaf and stem. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Upper side of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrow along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem: note the circular egg scar near the start of the burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrow along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem: note the circular egg scar near the start of the burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrow along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem: note the circular egg scar at the start of the burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrow along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem: note the circular egg scar at the start of the burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with hole in place where leaf was attached to the stem. The hole was made by a young weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled from its leaf mine into the plant stem. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with hole in place where leaf was attached to the stem. The hole was made by a young weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled from its leaf mine into the plant stem. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in or on their burrows in cut open stems of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in or on their burrows in cut open stems of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of an adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long rostrum with antennae near the tip. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of an adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long rostrum with antennae near the tip. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Upper side of an adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long rostrum with antennae near the tip. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of an adult weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long rostrum with antennae near the tip. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Natural Enemies

No pathogens or predators of the Leaf and stem borer weevil are known. Adult weevils are probably preyed on by birds and spiders.

Parasitoids
Two species of parasitoid wasp have been reared from this weevil. One belonging to an unidentified genus in the family Proctotrupidae (Hymenoptera) was reared from larvae and pupae of this weevil by Brenda May who studied weevil larvae.

The second species of unknown family, was reared while collecting material for this factsheet. The female probably lays an egg in the young weevil larva while it is in the leaf mine or burrowing in the young plant stem. After hatching from its egg, the wasp larva feeds in the weevil larva, but does not kill it. When the weevil larva is fully grown or has pupated, the fully grown wasp larva kills its host in its pupation chamber. The wasp larva leaves the weevil and pupates in its burrow. When the wasp adult is ready, it emerges from the pupal skin and its body and wings harden. It probably emerges from the weevil pupal chamber through the exit, a weak area in the plant stem wall, prepared by the weevil. The dark coloured adults have two pairs of wings. The female has a long pointed abdomen that contains an ovipositor for inserting eggs into the weevil larvae in their burrows.

  • Recently moulted pupa of a parasitic wasp (Hymenoptera) of the weevil larvae of Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in the burrow made in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Darren Snaith © Plant & Food Research
    Recently moulted pupa of a parasitic wasp (Hymenoptera) of the weevil larvae of Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in the burrow made in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Darren Snaith © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of a parasitic wasp (Hymenoptera) of the weevil larvae of Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in the burrow made in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Darren Snaith © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of a parasitic wasp (Hymenoptera) of the weevil larvae of Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in the burrow made in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Darren Snaith © Plant & Food Research
  • Pupa of a parasitic wasp (Hymenoptera) of the weevil larvae of Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in the burrow made in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of a parasitic wasp (Hymenoptera) of the weevil larvae of Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in the burrow made in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • A pair of adult wasps (Hymenoptera) that had parasitised weevil larvae of Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the female in front has a long slender abdomen and the male has a blunt end to its abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    A pair of adult wasps (Hymenoptera) that had parasitised weevil larvae of Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the female in front has a long slender abdomen and the male has a blunt end to its abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • The upper side of an adult female wasp (Hymenoptera) parasitoid of larvae of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long slender abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    The upper side of an adult female wasp (Hymenoptera) parasitoid of larvae of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long slender abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • The underside of an adult female wasp (Hymenoptera) parasitoid of larvae of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long slender abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    The underside of an adult female wasp (Hymenoptera) parasitoid of larvae of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the long slender abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Side view of an adult male wasp (Hymenoptera) parasitoid of larvae of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the short more rounded abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Side view of an adult male wasp (Hymenoptera) parasitoid of larvae of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the short more rounded abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • The underside of an adult male wasp (Hymenoptera) parasitoid of larvae of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the short more rounded abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    The underside of an adult male wasp (Hymenoptera) parasitoid of larvae of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the short more rounded abdomen. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Head of an adult male wasp (Hymenoptera) parasitoid of larvae of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the strong jaws. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Head of an adult male wasp (Hymenoptera) parasitoid of larvae of the weevil, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae): note the strong jaws. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Host Plants

The Hebe leaf & stem borer weevil lives in its Hebe shrub host plant, Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). The weevil has been found in West Auckland. It probably lives elsewhere on its host plant which is found in coastal and upland areas from the Waikato Northwards.

Plant damage
The weevil larva burrows through the mid rib of a young leaf into the young stem of the plant. It first burrows upwards in the young stem. It then burrows downwards into the older thicker stem in which it pupates. It is likely that the adult weevils also feed on young leaves. They probably make holes in the leaf with their rostrum (snout).

  • Upper side of two leaves of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrows along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of two leaves of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrows along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • A shoot of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with a midrib leaf mine and a wilted tip caused by a weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled through the leaf and stem. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
    A shoot of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with a midrib leaf mine and a wilted tip caused by a weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled through the leaf and stem. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Nicholas A. Martin
  • Upper side of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrow along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem: note the circular egg scar near the start of the burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Upper side of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrow along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem: note the circular egg scar near the start of the burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Underside of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrow along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem: note the circular egg scar at the start of the burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
    Underside of a leaf of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with burrow along its mid rib made by a newly hatched weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled down to the plant stem: note the circular egg scar at the start of the burrow. Image: Nicholas A. Martin © Plant & Food Research
  • Stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with hole in place where leaf was attached to the stem. The hole was made by a young weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled from its leaf mine into the plant stem. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae) with hole in place where leaf was attached to the stem. The hole was made by a young weevil larva of the Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) as it tunneled from its leaf mine into the plant stem. Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
  • Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in or on their burrows in cut open stems of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Weevil larvae, Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in or on their burrows in cut open stems of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Information Sources

May BM. 1987. Immature stages of Curculionoidea (Coleoptera): rearing records 1964-1986. New Zealand Entomologist. 9: 44-56.

Plant-SyNZ: Invertebrate herbivore-host plant association database. plant-synz.landcareresearch.co.nz/

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Acknowledgements

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

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Other Images

  • Pupa of a parasitic wasp (Hymenoptera) of the weevil larvae of Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in the burrow made in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
    Pupa of a parasitic wasp (Hymenoptera) of the weevil larvae of Hebe leaf & stem borer, Oreocalus albosparsus (Curculionidae) in the burrow made in a stem of Veronica macrocarpa (Plantaginaceae). Image: Tim Holmes © Plant & Food Research
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Suggested Citation

Martin NA. 2018. Hebe leaf & stem borer - Oreocalus albosparsus. Interesting Insects and other Invertebrates. New Zealand Arthropod Factsheet Series Number 149. http://nzacfactsheets.landcareresearch.co.nz/Index.html. Date Accessed. ISSN 1179-643X.

Landcare Research       Plant and Food