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Species Scyphophorus acupunctatus - Agave Weevil

Weevil - Scyphophorus acupunctatus Scyphophorus acupunctatus Gyllenhal - Scyphophorus acupunctatus Agave Weevil - Scyphophorus acupunctatus Sisal Weevil - Scyphophorus acupunctatus From Yucca - Scyphophorus acupunctatus Beetle or Weevil? - Scyphophorus acupunctatus Curculionidae sp - Scyphophorus acupunctatus Scyphophorus acupunctatus
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
Subphylum Hexapoda (Hexapods)
Class Insecta (Insects)
Order Coleoptera (Beetles)
Suborder Polyphaga (Water, Rove, Scarab, Long-horned, Leaf and Snout Beetles)
No Taxon (Series Cucujiformia)
Superfamily Curculionoidea (Snout and Bark Beetles)
Family Curculionidae (Snout and Bark Beetles)
Subfamily Dryophthorinae
Tribe Rhynchophorini
Subtribe Sphenophorina
Genus Scyphophorus
Species acupunctatus (Agave Weevil)
Other Common Names
Sisal Weevil, Sisal Borer, Picudo del Agave (Spanish), Botija (Spanish), Chatita (Spanish)
Explanation of Names
Scyphophorus acupunctatus Gyllenhaal 1838
acupunctatus = 'pin-pricked' (refers to the pronotal punctation)
Size
Body 9-19 mm (CABI)
Identification

Det. H.R. Burke
Range
sw US, FL (CA-TX-NE-WY) / Mex. to C. America / W. Indies(1)(BG data), originated in the New World, but now occurs in many arid and tropical regions wherever agave spp. have been introduced. (CABI)
Season
mostly: Apr-Oct (BG data)
Life Cycle
most common on century plants of the genera Agave and Furcraea, although it has also been recorded on Yucca, and even on Manfreda. (CABI),(Woodruff & Pierce 1973)
larvae mine roots and stems of their host (Woodruff & Pierce 1973)
In Kenya, egg, larval, prepupal and pupal stages last 3-5, 21-58, 4-10 and 7-23 days, respectively, and complete development requires 50-90 days. Females lay 25-50 eggs each in a moist environment over 6 months, at a rate of approximately two a week. (CABI)
Remarks
S. acupunctatus is the most important pest of cultivated agaves. (CABI) Their main economic impact is from damaging the agaves which are used in Mexico to make alcoholic drinks incl. pulque, tequila, and mezcal. This is one of several species said to be the "worm" added to "tequila" (actually mezcal) as a marketing gimmick. [Beyond gimmickry, intact larva attest to the high alcohol content of the containing liquid.] It is also eaten in parts of Mexico.
See Also
S. yuccae is similar to S. acupunctatus, but differs in the antennal club, which has a spongy truncated apex, somewhat carinate, visible in lateral view as a narrow line. The scutellum is larger, longer, twice as wide as the base of the sutural interstice, and elytra with interstices are deeply punctate in a single line with apices obliquely retracted to suture. (CABI)
Print References
CDA. (1959) A native weevil Scyphophorus acupunctatus, found on a new host, Dracaena draco, the dragon tree. Bulletin of the California Department of Agriculture, 48(4): 226.
Pott JN. (1976) A yucca borer, Scyphophorus acupunctatus, in Florida. Proceedings of the Florida State Horticultural Society, 88: 414-416. (Full PDF)
Ramos-Elorduy J. (2006) Threatened edible insects in Hidalgo, Mexico and some measures to preserve them. J. Ethnobiol. Ethnomed. 2: 51 (Full text)
Vaurie P. (1971) Review of Scyphophorus (Curculionidae: Rhynchophorinae). The Coleopterist Bulletin 25(1): 1-8. (JSTOR)
Waring GL & Smith RL. (1986) Natural history and ecology of Scyphophorus acupunctatus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) and its associated microbes in cultivated and native agaves. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 79(2): 334-340. (Abstract)
Wienik JF. (1967) A note on the transmission of Aspergillus niger by adult sisal weevils. PANS (B), 13(4): 392-395.
Woodruff RE & Pierce WH. (1973) Scyphophorus acupunctatus, a weevil pest of Yucca and Agave in Florida (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Entomology Circular, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, 135: 1-2.
Internet References
Works Cited
1. A distributional checklist of the beetles (Coleoptera) of Florida.
Peck & Thomas. 1998. Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Gainesville. 180 pp.