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Weevil on Opuntia - Cactophagus spinolae

Weevil on Opuntia - Cactophagus spinolae
Caspars Wilderness Park, Orange County, California, USA
March 21, 2009
Size: approximately 4cm
At first I thought it was a dead fruit or shriveled blossom, but upon closer inspection it was the largest weevil I've ever seen and impressively armored similar to Eleodes.

Moved from Cactus Weevil.

I agree with the species name, but what source suggests that the genus is Metamasius?

The correct genus is Cactophagus. This name was, for a time, dropped in favor of Metamasius, but was resurrected by Kuschel in this book: "Wibmer, G.J. & O'Brien, C.W. (1986) Annotated checklist of the weevils (Curculionidae sensu lato) of South America (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Memoirs of the American Entomological Institute, 39, i-xvi, 1-563."

Cactophagus is also listed as a valid genus in "American Beetles" (vol. 2, Arnett, Thomas, Skelley and Frank).

Also, check this source: "Anderson, R. S., 2002. The Dryophthoridae of Costa Rica and Panama: Checklist with keys, new synonymy and descriptions of new species of Cactophagus, Mesocorylus, Metamasius and Rhodobaenus (Coleoptera; Curculionoidea). Zootaxa 80: 1–94."

The correct identification is:

Cactophagus spinolae validus

The sub-species validus occurs in the United States and also differes from the other sub-species (spinolae) in that it is entirely black.

ITIS and nearctica
ITIS and nearctica have Metamasius. They may both be considered out of date.

Is the disagreement over the validity of Cactophagus or the assignment of the species to one of two valid genera? In other words, does recognizing Cactophagus necessarily imply that this species belongs there? Or is there a definition of Cactophagus that excludes spinolae?

Recognizing Cactophagus implies that this species belongs there.

4 cm ???
What a large weevil! I've never seen a weevil over 2cm...

Metamasius spinolae

Metamasius spinolae
Thanks v. It didn't look like Scyphophorus.

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