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Mesquite Bean Weevil

Algarobius prosopis

Algarobius bean weevil, photo by Michael Plagens

Photo taken in January 2013 after many of these beetles emerged from pods of Guisache, Acacia farnesiana. These were found in an urban Phoenix, Arizona, park where these trees are frequently planted.

Large seeds give a new plant seedling a boost towards survival. But they also represent a resource to be exploited by seed predators. Bean weevils lay their eggs on the surfaces of the bean and then as the larva hatches out it bores straight down into the bean - the entrance hole is minute or invisible. Once the inside of the bean is largely hollowed out, the larva pupates inside and later ecloses and tunnels out as an adult beetle. The exit hole is very smooth and drilled through the hard seed coat - see photo of pod with holes below. A seed thus consumed will not germinate, i.e. the whole plant was predated by the beetle. There are many bean weevil species found in the Sonoran Desert with preferences for various bean-seeds.

Chrysomelidae -- Bruchinae -- Bean Weevil Sub-Family

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exit holes in sweet acacia pods made by Algarobius bean weevil, photo by Michael Plagens

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, page created 24 April 2013