…especially when they are as colorful as these! I found this mating pair ~60 km south of Corrientes, Argentina feeding on flowers of what I presume to be the goldenrod species Solidago chilensis (family Asteraceae). Here, as in North America, goldenrod blooms in profusion along the roadsides during late summer and fall wherever moisture is to be found, and also as in North America goldenrod here is an insect magnet. During my week exploring Corrientes and Chaco Provinces, I learned to stop whenever I spotted a stand of the distinctive yellow blossoms. I found several stands and was treated to a variety of beetles, flies, and other insects that I’ll show over the coming days, with these being among the most striking that I found.
Weevils themselves may not be anything to be afraid of; however, their taxonomy is downright terrifying (and this coming from a beetle man!). With more than 40,000 described species worldwide (and who knows how many still awaiting description), the family Curculionidae (“true” weevils) may be the largest in the animal kingdom. I don’t know why, given the distinctive and striking coloration of these individuals, but I punted early and asked my friend Henry Hespenheide (a buprestid man, but knows a thing or two about weevils) if he knew what these were. Henry must have also been scared, because he went straight to the top and forwarded the photos to weevil heavy-hitters Charles O’Brien and Jens Prena, both of whom quickly replied back with an ID of Megadaris quadriguttatus (Klug, 1829). The state of weevil bionomics seems to be as incomplete as their taxonomy, as I was unable to find even the most basic information about the distribution and biology of this species (keep in mind I’m in Argentina right now with no access to libraries). As far as I can tell this is a strictly Neotropical genus.
Of course, had I checked Curculionidae de Argentina I might have noticed the photo of this species right there on the front page. Fear does strange things to one’s confidence.
Copyright © Ted C. MacRae 2012
29 thoughts on “I fear no weevil…”
Sure are handsome Bugs!! If I had access to taxonomic work on them, I might study them more. Chrysomelids are more realistic study material for my situation now… but no complaints 🙂 love me some leaf beetles.
Not a leaf beelte, but glad you like it.
Yes I know ha ha, I should have made it clearer. I meant that it’s easier to study Chrysomelids than Weevils with the available taxonomic literature I have for them. But despite that, I’d love to study both families. They’re equally as impressive.
Yes – although chrysomelids are no piece of taxonomic cake either. I did quite a bit of collecting of this group in my earlier years and quickly realized I had to narrow my focus – chrysos was one of the casualties.
Truly wonderful creatures, and the detail is magnificent. You have an artistic “eye” for composition as well Ted.
A real compliment coming from you – thanks!
Wow. Those are impressive weevils.
Wish I could’ve seen more of them. I do have pics, however, of another baridine weevil – also on goldenrod but from another spot – that is almost as spectacular as these.
Just curious – A native goldenrod, or an introduced North American one?
With a name like chilensis I presume native, but I can’t say for sure.
Penacho, penacho amarillo, vara de oro, vara amarilla, vara de San Jose. Native to Argentina and Chile. The truth is that I don’t remember it very well.
It was quite widespread in Chaco and Corrientes Provinces – just past peak bloom when I was there in early April and just starting to bloom further south in Buenos Aires Province in mid-April.
Wow! Those are pretty weevils!
Thanks, Ani. I’ve seen bigger weevils, but none more strikingly colored.
I hope that you place your blog on twitter. Most people would enjoy the photos.
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beautiful natural photography
These are really gorgeous photos, Ted- some of your best!
High praise – thank you Alex!
Yes, Charlie is always ready to help – ids, ecology, stories…And your photos are exceptionally pretty! (I’m just sending yesterday’s catch to Charlie)
Thank you Margarethe. Charlie is just one of a growing number of professionals who have very generously helped me with IDs in groups with which I’m not very familiar.
Gorgeous! Great photos!!! Son preciosos. Darned, I would love to be there. Are you going to Cordoba by any chance? That is where my family is.
Thank you Pollinator. I just got back to the US – no chance to visit Cordoba this time, but I’m hoping to perhaps in the spring.
Let me know when you go. My family would be happy to take you to the country house.
A kind offer Beatrize – I’ll certainly let you know.
Your photos are amazing!
Thank you very much!