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Interesting Facts about red Weevil, Larvae

Updated on January 30, 2014

Interesting facts about edible palm weevil, larvae

The palm weevil is an interesting insect based on its economic implications to farmers and the host plants it favors; it chooses the selected host for the purpose of feeding and breading its young. Adult palm weevil although they feed and derive their nutrients from the tress/plants, eat their way through other choice meals like squash fruits, coconut, apple, sugar cane and palm trees, the adult weevil are only the messengers while their larvae are the destructive force who feed frenzy continuously through the soft trunk tissues of the host tree.

Where red palm weevil are found

Red palm weevil are found

The red palm weevil because of its preference for the palm tree got its name red palm weevil; its binomial name is Rhynchophorus Ferruginous and is also known as the coconut weevil, Asiatic weevil, Indian red palm weevil and sago red palm weevil. The pests is indigenous to southeast Asia, middle east countries like Egypt, Syria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Morocco other countries such as Turkey, Chad, Sudan, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Somalia. The red weevil insect covers a wide range because of its ability to travel up to 15km a day.

Picture of red Weevil larva

Picture of Red Weevil Larva
Picture of Red Weevil Larva | Source

Which is not a food source

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Stages of development

Insects generally go through very complex metamorphosis changing into extremely opposite living organisms through their development stage before ending up as adult insects. The stages which is well known to all is the egg-larva-pupa-adult stages, the eggs of insects are similar but might have different hues and dimensions the larva also vary extensively in each insect type.

Egg of red palm weevil

The red weevil uses its ovipositor to lay eggs between cut, scrapes cracks, slits in the trunk of the tree, it also bore holes at the base of petiole, under fresh tissues of young palm leaves, the sago weevil can lay between 350 to 500 eggs per clutch a process which it repeats at least 5 times within a single year depending on the season, weather and conditions. Egg lying is strictly conditioned with the climate so it is very climate dependant.

Sago red palm weevil eggs are smooth white or yellowish- white shinny cylindrical shaped with rounded ends with frontal region assuming a narrower dome the eggs hatch within three to six days depending on favorable climatic conditions.

Which is not a characteristic of the red weevil larvae?

Tastes good

Eat veraciously

Have conical jaws

Flies great distances

Red weevil larvae

Weevil larvae

They are the most interesting stage of the life cycle of the red palm weevil, after the eggs have hatched between the soft hollow of new palm trees or on the bottom of the leaves they become maggot looking larvae. They have 2 basic colors white or yellowish white, they are long segmented without legs with head region reddish black that has very powerful conical jaws that they use in reaping the palm trees from inside out. The sago weevil eats non stop borrowing deep into the stalk killing the plant in the process. The leaves become yellowish and eventually the entire tree shreds and dies, there devastating infestation is well known to farmers.

The subcutaneous layer of the palm tree provides the larva shelter from natural enemies like birds, other ants, and primates like monkeys or reptiles such as lizards. The red weevil larva can borrow into the plant up to one and half meters and can grow up to about 5cm long or more they are plump shaped and very tough and versatile grubs.

Larva as a food source

The red weevil larva is loaded with protein and other nutrients so it can be eaten raw the edible maggots if you can overcome its distasteful appearance, when eaten they burst in the mouth releasing some kind of liquid, despite the unpleasant feel in the mouth they are juicy and creamy to taste. When fried in vegetable oil, ground nut oil or bacon oil extract, backed, grilled, smoked or roasted they taste like regular meat and bacon. The head must first be cut off and discarder wither you are eating the sago raw or fried. Many countries partake in this culinary delight especially in Southeast Asia and Papua New Guinea, Nigeria, morocco, Egypt, Sudan, India, so parts of Europe and many other countries.

There are many types of insects eaten around the world for their high protein content which sometimes are twice the content found in cattle, sheep or goats, some are the saturnalia caterpillar, scarab beetle larvae and terminates or even the regurgitated bee meals we know as honey.

Interesting Facts about the Palm Weevil

Palm weevil
Egg
Larvae
lay eggs 3to 4 times yearly
between 400-500
segmented
brownish red
white
has red head
flies up to 15km
lay eggs in clusters
yellowish white

Image of red weevil

Image of red weevil
Image of red weevil | Source

The adult red palm weevil

The adult weevil

The adult red palm weevil has an ovoid shaped elongated head and derives its name from its color which ranges from red, reddish brown, reddish black and rusty brown, it is known to grow to a length of between 18mm to 40mm, width of 10mm to 18mm. you can find some circular bleach spots on its body with an overall shape that is elongated and curved. The males have a spice nose with erect setae like short hair while the female weevil does not possess this added feature.

They can reach distances of over 15km and the female lay their eggs between soft tissue in the palm trees in large batches of 500 or more, the long distance ability is to seek and start there own colony when the female is ready to lay its eggs.

Devastative impact of red weevil on palm trees

The sago larva are a major economical threat to its host plants or trees, its devastating effect on ecology, farm lands and plantations cannot be over emphasized, they have the capacity to destroy entire crops within a very short period and any tree seen to have infestation if not prevented or controlled with pesticides will end up facing extensive damage and losses. Some pesticide used could be organic, synthetic, bio friendly or locally mixed concoctions which are equally very effective.

Signs of infestation

1 The first most important sign to infestation is when a lot of leaves start falling.

2 General plummeted wreath

3 Leaves decaying

4 Leaves turning yellow

5 Thinning of leaves around the armpits

6 Remains of pupa stage (cocoon)

7 Remains of fibers

8 Eaten leaves

9 Outer stem leaves on the ground because of pruning

10 Compromised trunk

A delicious plate of larvae soup

A delicious plate of larvae soup
A delicious plate of larvae soup | Source

About palm tree

The palm tree

The palm tree can be described as a tall or short plant depending on the variety that stands with a straight upwards with long tubular stem intricate adjacent leaves that terminate in a crown, the tree is a very versatile plant that can be found mainly in the tropics, the tree in the family of Arecaceae palm has the date palm, coconut palm and raffia palm called coco de mer. The palm tree in its entirety seems to have every part with high commercial value from the roots to the stalk, leaves and fruit.

Uses of palm tree

The palm tree as said earlier apart from hosting the red weevils larvae have many commercial properties some of which are

The palm trees root.

The root features prominently in herbal concoctions and is used for fire as chippings, it is also a very effective bio fuel.

The palm trees stalk.

1 The stalk of the palm tree is used for firewood

2 When cured the stalk becomes a very hard durable log used for high quality furniture.

3 It is also used as flooring

4 Decking material

5 Inner ceiling decorations

6 Floor tiles

The palm leaves

1 The leaves are made into hut roofs

2 shades

3 table mats

4 floor mats

5 hand bags

6 hand fans

7 hats

8 palm paper

9 chairs and furniture

10 feed to livestock

Fruit of the palm

1 not all palm trees bare fruits some are just decorative short trees

2 fruits are made into oils

3 fruit juice

4 high quality wax

5 jells and other cosmetic applications

The liquid is said to alleviate diarrhea.

Conclusion

The red palm weevil

The adult red palm weevil on its own is not entirely destructive, but its larvae stage can render an entire palm tree plantation dead, the weevil’s larva is cherished as a delicacy and eaten in several countries which promoted some countries to start red weevil farms strictly to harvest the larvae at maturity. There are many edible insects which can be refereed to in scientific terms as entomology which is the consumption of various kinds of insects, many animals are better adapted to eating insects but human beings in almost every comer of the world also indulge in this practice for good reason.

Insects and some of their larva and eggs are loaded with protein and minerals, some edible insects are grasshopper, crickets, locust,palm grubs, mo pane caterpillars and meal worms are commonly eating. The insect although very destructive has economic benefits in the protein content and edibility of the larvae stage of the pest. With proper management the potential of the insect may outweigh its destructive capabilities making it a viable resource in modern farming techniques.

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