Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus armadillo in Kidderminster
There’s an Armadillo loose in Worcestershire ...
On the 26th of April 2012 a single specimen of the invasive Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus armadillo was found on Ivy at Springfield Park, Kidderminster. Close by, a large colony was found in the gardens of a new housing estate overlooking Puxton Marsh. Quite how long they have been established here is unknown but in South West London where they were first discovered in 1998 the species is now reaching pest proportions and it has officially become the most common weevil there.
In Kidderminster the species seems to have a distinct preference for Spindle Tree leaves, Rosacea plants and Ivy. Other plant species thought to be at risk are Cherry Laurel, Ornamental Willow and Viburnum. It is without doubt a very distinct weevil, the females reaching 15mm in length. The species seems to be mainly nocturnal and the larvae feed on various plant roots whilst the adults feed on the leaves. I have seen it in three separate locations now,: Springfield Park, Crossley Park (feeding on Dog rose and Brambles) and on the Kidderminster to Hagley road (found on Primrose). Although wingless this species seems to have no trouble increasing its range, either that or they have been here for some time. The females can lay up to 1500 eggs with both adults and larvae able to survive our colder winters. It has also been seen in Cardiff, Edinburgh and Warwickshire so it looks as though this invasive species is here to stay.
Thanks to Paul Whitehead for identifying the species and to John Meiklejohn for his help.
Lane, Steve, 2009.Otiorhynchus armadillo (Rossi) in Coventry, Warwickshire (VC 38). Beetle News 1 (3):3.
Fig.1. Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus armadillo. Picture Alan Brown