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Sacred Datura Weevil

Trichobaris compacta

Trichobaris compacta photo © by Mike Plagens

This beetle was observed along Mesquite Wash, Maricopa Co., Arizona in May 2009.

Curculionidae -- Weevil Family

A majority of Sacred Datura (Datura wrightii) will, by mid spring, have many small holes chewed in the broad leaves. These holes are created by Trichobaris weevil adults recently emerged from the previous season's fruit. The immature form, a whitish larva (also called a grub) develops within the Datura fruit feeding upon the developing seeds. Rarely do the weevils destroy all the seeds and the adult beetles cause only minimal detriment to the whole plant as they chew holes in the leaves. Thus the two organisms co-exist in a semi-adversarial relationship; the plant is widespread in the mid to upper elevations of the Sonoran Desert, and so is the weevil.

Datura is a member of the Potato Family (a.k.a. Nightshade Family) and so it follows that other species of Trichobaris are associated with Solanaceae as the family is known. Trichobaris mucorea for example is found in tobacco and Trichobaris trinotata feeds within stalks of Potato plants.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2008