Entomology, Department of


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Published in Florida Entomologist Online, Vol. 77, No. 3 (1994).


The palmetto weevil (R. cruentatus F.) breeds in a variety of stressed or dying palms (Giblin-Davis & Howard 1988, 1989). These large (1.9 - 3.0 cm long) weevils are associated with the native cabbage palmetto, Sabal palmetto (Walter), in Florida (Woodruff 1967). Semiochemicals emanating from stressed or dying palms and male conspecifics (Weissling et al. 1992, 1993, 1994, Giblin-Davis et al. 1994) are attractive to R. cruentatus adults. Although not fully understood, mating apparently takes place on dying palms and females lay their eggs in the leaf bases or directly into the wounds of the host. Larvae develop primarily in the crown region but can occasionally be found in the stem tissue. Last instar larvae migrate to the fibrous stem periphery or petiolar bases and construct cocoons from fiber (Giblin-Davis & Howard 1988).

Research on an improved method to culture R. cruentatus has required the collection of a large number of eggs to produce neonate larvae for evaluation of diets. Using pineapple, Anana comosus (L.), as an ovipositional substrate, Giblin-Davis et al. (1989) reported the mean lifetime fecundity of field-collected females as 26 ± 15 eggs per female. However, pineapple proved to be a difficult media to dissect for removal of eggs. More suitable ovipositional substrates were investigated and we found that apple (Pyrus malus L.) slices were easily dissected and were readily accepted by R. cruentatus females. Using apple slices, we reinvestigated the fecundity of R. cruentatus females and determined fertility.

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