Other Common Names
Sisal Weevil, Sisal Borer, Picudo del Agave (Spanish), Botija (Spanish), Chatita (Spanish)
Explanation of Names
Scyphophorus acupunctatus Gyllenhaal
acupunctatus = 'pin-pricked' (refers to the pronotal punctation)
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)
mostly: Apr-Oct (BG data)
most common on century plants of the genera Agave
, 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)
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.
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)
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.