Plant-Insect Interaction: European snout beetles feeding on a sugar maple

European snout beetle (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Phyllobius oblongus) on a sugar maple leaf (Acer saccharum, Aceraceae). Photographed 04/29/2012 near Sand Creek, Michigan.

While out in a nearby southeast Michigan hardwood forest, I came across a number of European snout beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Phyllobius oblongus) on a sugar maple host (Acer saccharum, Aceraceae).  I observed the beetles mating and feeding on the foliage, and there was evidence of some leaf damage:

A sugar maple leaf (Acer saccharum, Aceraceae) damaged by European snout beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Phyllobius oblongus). A mating pair of the beetles can be faintly seen near the base of the petiole. Photographed 04/29/2012 near Sand Creek, Michigan.

These non-native weevils feed on a variety of hardwood trees.  Adults feed on the leaves while larvae feed on the roots.  In one lab test they seemed to favor ironwood, mountain maple, and white birch, and yet are more often found on sugar maples (Pinski, Mattson, and Raffa 2005).  This is probably because sugar maples are the dominant understory trees in this region and have a higher availability (Pinkski et al. 2005). In spite of the damage these beetles do to sugar maples, it’s generally not severe enough to warrant control.

Literature cited:

Pinski, R.A., W.J. Mattson, and K.F. Raffa.  2005.  Host Breadth and Ovipositional Behavior of Adult Polydrusus sericeus and Phyllobius oblongus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), Nonindigenous Inhabitants of Northern Hardwood Forests.  Environmental Entomology 34(1): 148-157.

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About Jeremy Sell

Science and nature nerd.
This entry was posted in Botany, Ecology, Entomology, Organism Interactions and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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