Hostname: page-component-77c89778f8-vpsfw Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-07-19T06:08:22.308Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Adult fecundity, host plant preferences, field activity and parasitism in the leaf weevil Phyllobius pyri (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 October 2009

H.E. Billiald
Centre for Forestry and Climate Change, Forest Research, Alice Holt Lodge, Wrecclesham, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 4LH, UK
N.A. Straw*
Centre for Forestry and Climate Change, Forest Research, Alice Holt Lodge, Wrecclesham, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 4LH, UK
A.J.A. Stewart
School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, Sussex, BN1 9QG, UK
*Author for correspondence Fax: 01420 23653 E-mail:


Adults of the leaf weevil Phyllobius pyri (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) feed on a wide variety of broadleaved trees and occasionally cause severe defoliation in newly established farm woodlands. There is little information, however, on the relative susceptibility of different tree species to damage or on the habitat associations of adults and larvae of P. pyri, which might indicate the conditions that predispose trees to attack. Captures of adult P. pyri in emergence and flight traps in the current study indicated population densities in grassland of 0.5–6.4 adults per m2 at emergence but higher densities up to 13.5 per m2 in young pine plantations, where there was a mixture of grassy patches and young, naturally regenerating birch trees. The close proximity of larval food resources (grass roots) and a favoured adult host-plant, which also occurs in young farm woodlands, provided ideal conditions for P. pyri and allowed high population densities to develop. Feeding and performance experiments indicated that cherry, birch, oak and hornbeam were most susceptible to P. pyri, whereas field maple, hawthorn, rowan, lime and especially ash were resistant. Adult female P. pyri emerged in May reproductively immature and fed on tree foliage for 15.9±0.9 days before laying their first batch of eggs. Adults lived for 33.3±1.5 days, on average, and females laid a mean of 191.9±34.5 eggs (maximum=589) during their lifetime. Eggs hatched after 16–20 days. During 2003 and 2004, 11–16% of adult P. pyri were parasitised by Pygostylus falcatus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) and 19–29% were parasitised by Rondania fasciata (Diptera: Tachinidae).

Research Paper
Copyright © Crown Copyright. Published by Cambridge University Press 2009

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Annila, E. (1979) Damage by Phyllobius weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) in birch plantations. Communicationes Instituti Forestalis Fenniae 97, 120.Google Scholar
Axelsson, B., Larsson, S., Lohm, U. & Persson, T. (1973) Production of larvae of Phyllobius piri L. (Col. Curculionidae) in an abandoned field. Entomologica Scandinavica 4, 2129.Google Scholar
Belshaw, R. (1993) Tachinid Flies. Diptera: Tachinidae. Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects, vol. 10, part 4a(i). 170 pp. London, UK, Royal Entomological Society.Google Scholar
Bevan, D. (1987) Forest Insects. Forestry Commission Handbook 1. 153 pp. London, UK, HMSO Publications.Google Scholar
Bevan, W.D. (1962) Observations on damage to grassland in east Yorkshire by larvae of the common leaf weevil, Phyllobius pyri L. and notes on its biology. Grass & Forage Science 17, 194197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Billiald, H.E. (2005) The life-cycle, development and ecology of the leaf weevil Phyllobius pyri (L.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). PhD thesis, University of Sussex, Brighton, UK.Google Scholar
Brudea, V. (1984) Studies of the biological species Pygostolus falcatus (Nees) parasitising Sitona. Analele Institutului Cercetari Pentru 51, 331335.Google Scholar
Cunningham, J.P., Zalucki, M.P. & West, S.A. (1999) Learning in Helicoverpa armigera (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae): a new look at the behaviour and control of a polyphagous pest. Bulletin of Entomological Research 89, 201207.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Danthanarayana, W. (1970) Studies on the dispersal and migration of Sitona regensteinensis (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 13, 236246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dethier, V.G. (1982) Mechanism of host plant recognition. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 31, 4956.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Diaz, B. (1923) Un braconido parasito de insecto perfecto. Revta Fitopatologia 1, 108110.Google Scholar
Falk, S. (1991) A Review of the Scarce and Threatened Flies of Great Britain, part 1. 194 pp. Peterborough, UK, Nature Conservancy Council.Google Scholar
Grossheim, N.A. (1928) Data for the study of the genus Sitona, Germ. Bulletin of the Mleev Horticulture Experimental Station 17, 434436.Google Scholar
Hibberd, B.G. (1988) The farm woodland initiative. pp. 56in Hibberd, B.G. (Ed.) Farm Woodland Practice. Forestry Commission Handbook 3. London, UK, HMSO Publications.Google Scholar
Hill, D.S. (1973) Damage to grassland by larvae of the common leaf weevil (Phyllobius pyri L.). Plant Pathology 22, 50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Hubbard, C.E. (1968) Grasses. 428 pp. Harmondsworth, UK, Penguin Books Ltd.Google Scholar
Ioannisiani, T.G., Lavrova, N.K. & Birg, A.V. (1970a) Ecological features of some species of the genus Phyllobius Germ. (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) in Belorussia. Entomologicheshoe Obozrenie 49, 800809.Google Scholar
Ioannisiani, T.G., Birg, A.V. & Lavrova, N.K. (1970b) Materials on the biology of weevils of the genus Phyllobius (Coleoptera, Curculionidae). Zoologicheskii Zhurnal 49, 384389.Google Scholar
Jackson, D.J. (1928) The biology of Dinocampus (Perilitus) rutilus Ness a braconid parasitoid of Sitona lineata L. Proceedings Zoological Society 1, 597630.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Jarvis, M.G., Allen, R.H., Fordham, S.J., Hazelden, J., Moffat, A.J. & Sturdy, R.G. (1984) Soils and their Use in South East England. Soil Survey of England and Wales, Bulletin 15, Harpenden, UK.Google Scholar
Kula, E. (2003) The population and seasonal dynamics of weevils developing in the soil of birch stands. pp. 3338in McManus, M.L. & Liebhold, A.M. (Eds) Proceedings: Ecology, Survey and Management of Forest Insects. General Technical Report-NE-311. United States Department of Agriculture, Northeastern Research Station, 1–5 September 2002, Krakow, Poland.Google Scholar
Larsson, S. & Lohm, U. (1975) Energy loss from a population of Phyllobius piri L. (Col., Curculionidae) during hibernation. Zoon 3, 111114.Google Scholar
Leather, S.R. (1994) Life history traits of insect herbivores in relation to host quality. pp. 175207in Bernays, E.A. (Ed.) Insect-Plant Interactions, vol. V. Boca Raton, FL, USA, CRC Press.Google Scholar
Lerenius, C. & Jansson, J. (1995) Leaf weevils damage grassland on light soils. Vaxtskyddsnotiser 59, 15.Google Scholar
Loan, C. (1961) Introduction of European Parasites of Sitona spp. for control of the sweetclover weevil, Sitona cylindricollis, in Canada. Journal of Economic Entomology 54, 10261031.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Loan, C. & Holdaway, F.G. (1961) Pygostolus falcatus (Nees) (Hymenoptera, Braconidae), a parasite of Sitona species (Coleoptera, Curculionidae). Bulletin of Entomological Research 52, 473488.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Lockwood, J.R. III (1998) On the statistical analysis of multiple-choice feeding preference experiments. Oecologia 116, 475481.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Manly, B.F.J. (1993) Comments on design and analysis of multiple-choice feeding-preference experiments. Oecologia 93, 149152.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Marko, V., Merkl, O., Podlussany, A., Vig, K., Kutasi, C.S. & Bogya, S. (1995) Species composition of Coleoptera assemblages in the canopies of Hungarian apple and pear orchards. Acta Phytopathologica et Entomologica Hungarica 30, 221245.Google Scholar
Milbrath, L.R. & Weiss, M.J. (1998) Development, survival and phenology of the sweetclover weevil parasitoid, Pygostolus falcatus (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). The Great Lakes Entomologist 31, 129136.Google Scholar
Morris, M.G. (1997) Broad-Nosed Weevils, Coleoptera: Curculionidae (Entiminae). Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects, vol. 5, part 17a. 106 pp. London, UK, Royal Entomological Society.Google Scholar
Nielsen, A.F. (1978) Leaf weevils in grasses. Statens Planteavlsforsoeg 80, 1390.Google Scholar
Nielsen, G.R. (1997) European Snout Beetle – University of Vermont Extension Entomology Leaflet 246. (accessed 1 September 2009).Google Scholar
Orians, C.M., Huang, C.H., Wild, A., Dorfman, K.A., Zee, P., Dao, M.T.T. & Fritz, R.S. (1997) Willow hybridization differentially affects preference and performance of herbivorous beetles. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 83, 285294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Payne, R.W., Harding, S.A., Murray, D.M., Soutar, D.B., Baird, S.J., Welham, S.J., Kane, A.F., Gilmour, A.R., Thompson, R., Webster, R. & Tunnicliffe Wilson, G. (2006) GenStat® Release 9 Reference Manual. Hemel Hempstead, UK, VSN International Ltd.Google Scholar
Peterson, C.H. & Renaud, P.E. (1989) Analysis of feeding preference experiments. Oecologia 80, 8286.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Phillips, C.B., Goldson, S.L., Reimer, L. & Kuhlmann, U. (2000) Progress in the search for biological control agents of clover root weevil, Sitona lepidus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research 43, 541547.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Phillips, W.M. (1992) Assemblages of weevils (Curculionoidea) in the lower tree canopy of a mixed temperate woodland. The Entomologist 3, 6178.Google Scholar
Pinski, R.A., Mattson, W.J. & Raffa, K.F. (2005a) Host breadth and ovipositional behaviour of adult Polydrusus sericeus and Phyllobius oblongus (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), Nonindigenous inhabitants of northern hardwood forests. Environmental Entomology 34, 148157.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Pinski, R.A., Mattson, W.J. & Raffa, K.F. (2005b) Composition and seasonal phenology of a nonindigenous root-feeding weevil (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) complex in northern hardwood forests in the Great Lakes Region. Environmental Entomology 34, 298307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Roa, R. (1992) Design and analysis of multiple-choice feeding-preference experiments. Oecologia 89, 509515.CrossRefGoogle ScholarPubMed
Roginskaya, Y.Y. (1966) On the food specialization of dendrophilous weevils (Coleoptera, Attelabidae, Curculionidae) of the Moscow province. Entomological Review 45, 1928.Google Scholar
Rougon, C., Roques, A., Rougon, D. & Levieux, J. (1995) Impact of insects on the regeneration potential of oaks in France. I. Action of phyllophagus Curculionidae (Coleoptera) on female flowers prior to fecundation. Journal of Applied Entomology 119, 455463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Savic, G. (1963) A contribution to the study of the biology of the leaf eating weevil (Phyllobius oblongus). Zastita Bilja 72, 183194.Google Scholar
Schauermann, J. (1973) Food and energy turnover of phytophagous insects in beech forests. II The capacity of productivity of weevils (Curculionidae) with rhizophagous larvae. Oecologia 13, 313350.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Shaw, M.R. & Huddleston, T. (1991) Classification and Biology of Braconid Wasps (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Handbooks for the Identification of British Insects, vol. 7, part 11. 126 pp. London, UK, Royal Entomological Society.Google Scholar
Southwood, T.R.E. & Henderson, P.A. (2000) Ecological Methods. 575 pp. London, UK, Blackwell Science.Google Scholar
Stace, C. (2001) New Flora of the British Isles. 2nd edn.1130 pp. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Tachinid Recording Scheme (2002) Tachinid information page – Rondania fasciata. (accessed 1 September 2009).Google Scholar
Thompson, J.N. (1988) Evolutionary ecology of the relationship between preference and performance of offspring in phytophagous insects. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata 47, 3–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Thompson, W.R. (1953) Host Parasite Catalogue (Section 2): Hosts of the Hymenoptera (Agaonidae to Braconidae), part 2. 190 pp. Ottawa, ON, Canada, The Commonwealth Institute of Biological Control.Google Scholar
Urban, J. (1998) Harmful occurrence of the leaf weevil Phyllobius arborator Hbst. on beech and other broad-leaved trees in the Zdar area. Lesnictvi-Forestry 44, 289304.Google Scholar
Vollman, M. (1954) The oblong leaf weevil Phyllobius oblongus L. (Col. Curc.) its biology and control. Zeitschrift fur Angewandte Entomologie 36, 117155.Google Scholar
von Haeselbarth, E. (1971) Notizen zur Gattung Pygostolus Haliday (Hymenoptera, Braconidae). Opuscula Zoologica 112, 18.Google Scholar
Wigglesworth, V.B. (1974) The Principles of Insect Physiology. 741 pp. London, UK, Chapman & Hall.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Williamson, D.R. (1992) Establishing Farm Woodlands: Forestry Commission Handbook 8. 42 pp. London, UK, HMSO Publications.Google Scholar
Witter, J.A. & Fields, R.D. (1977) Phyllobius oblongus and Sciaphillus asperatus associated with sugar maple reproduction in Northern Michigan. Environmental Entomology 6, 150154.CrossRefGoogle Scholar