Curculionidae

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True weevils and bark beetles
Weevil September 2008-1.jpg
Lixus angustatus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Infraorder: Cucujiformia
Superfamily: Curculionoidea
Family: Curculionidae
Latreille, 1802
Diversity
Some 20 subfamilies (but see text)
A true weevil

Curculionidae is the family of the "true" weevils (or "snout beetles"). In 1998 it was recognized as the largest animal family, with over 40 000 species described worldwide at that time.[1] However, it is surpassed by the family Ichneumonidae (Hymenoptera) with over 60 000 species. Even among the beetles (Coleoptera), the family Staphylinidae, with 58 000 species, surpasses it.

It also includes the bark beetles as subfamily Scolytinae, which are modified[unreliable source?] in shape in accordance with their wood-boring lifestyle. They do not much resemble other weevils, so they were traditionally considered a distinct family, Scolytidae. The family also includes the ambrosia beetles, of which the present-day subfamily Platypodinae was formerly considered the distinct family Platypodidae.

Description[edit]

They are recognized by their distinctive long snout and geniculate antennae with small clubs; beyond that, curculionids have considerable diversity of form and size, with adult lengths ranging from 1 to 40 millimetres (0.04 to 1.57 in).

Weevils are almost entirely plant feeders, and most species are associated with a narrow range of hosts, in many cases only living on a single species. With so many species to classify and over 400 genera, the taxonomy of this family is quite complicated, and authors disagree on the number and placement of various subfamilies, tribes and subtribes.

Phylogeny and systematics[edit]

The phylogeny of the group is complex; with 40 000 species there is a spirited debate about the relationships between subfamilies and genera. A 1997 analysis attempted to construct a phylogeny based mainly on larval characteristics.[2]

Almost two dozen subfamilies are recognized by some authors even when merging those that are certainly invalid. Others, however, recognize a lesser number – the only subfamilies that are almost universally considered valid are the Baridinae, Cossoninae, Curculioninae, Cyclominae, Entiminae, Molytinae, Platypodinae and Scolytinae. The various proposed taxonomic schemes typically each usually recognize again as many additional subfamilies, but there is little agreement between authorities about which ones of those below these are. In particular the delimitation of the Molytinae has proven difficult.

The subfamilies considered valid by at least some authors today:

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

On the University of Florida / Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Featured Creatures website:

Other University web pages on economically important curculids: