Southern Marsh Orchids

Southern Marsh Orchids

Friday, 5 February 2016

As if one vine weevil isn't bad enough

In July last year I found what looked like an unusually fat Vine Weevil Otiorhynchus sulcatus sitting on a Dogwood bush by Coryton roundabout. This all-too-familiar garden pest is a regular in my Cardiff garden, but this one looked a bit too plump in the body so I took it home for closer inspection.

It keyed out using Morris' Royal Entomological Society key as Otiorhychus aurifer, a very rare non-native species in the UK.  As this seemed unlikely I posted a photo on the Beetles of Britain and Ireland Facebook group, and after some discussions the correct identification was arrived at by Max Barclay of the Natural History Museum. Adrian Fowles also suspected the same species when I emailed him a photo.

My beetle was in fact the Armadillo Weevil Otiorhynchus armadillo. This is one of several vine weevils which has arrived in the UK in recent decades and is already doing serious damage to ornamental shrubs in the London area. In Wales, there was just one other record shown on the LRC Data Tool (a fantastic resource, see here if you haven't tried it) - also in Cardiff. Since then the beetle has also been found in Swansea (see Gower Wildlife blog) and it seems destined to spread further, at least in urban areas.

A rather unwelcome addition to our Welsh beetle fauna!

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