Boll Weevil

R. Nelson Foster

United States Department of Agriculture

The boll weevil, Authonomus grandis grandis, is a beetle belonging to the family Curculionidae. A native of Mexico or Central America, it was first described in 1843 by the Swedish entomologist Boheman. Boll weevil is a new world pest of cultivated cotton and occurs in all Central America countries where cotton is cultivated, Mexico, the United States, Cuba, Hispaniola, Colombia, Venezuela, Brazil, and Peru. Where established, it is probably the most serious pest of cotton. Since its arrival in the United States, it is estimated that actual damage loss combined with control costs attributed to boll weevil exceed $16 billion (consumer-price-index-adjusted value of $91 billion). The boll weevil is important to examine in detail because of its destructive impact in cultivated cotton, use of aggregation pheromone, overwintering diapause, existence as three different but difficult-to-distinguish forms of the species, and status as the target of successful, area-wide eradication efforts in the United States.

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