Weevil research

The weevils are a huge group of beetles. The superfamily Curculionoidea includes some 65,000 to 70,000 described species and possibly another 150,000 remain to be discovered and named.

Weevils are mostly plant-feeders, and have diversified depending on their food type, such as seeds or dead wood, or coevolved with their hosts, remaining associated with a single plant lineage.  

Key areas of work are:
  • establishing stability in species names used
  • researching host specificity of weevils (especially seed-feeders)
  • understanding phylogenetic relationships between major groups

Another important area of work is to assist taxonomists worldwide by increasing their access to information about these insects.

  • Cryptorhynchine seed-feeding weevil from Panama
    Weevil higher classification

    There is confusion on how higher taxa (tribes, subfamilies and even families) are composed and recognised. This is particularly so for two of the largest weevil subfamilies, Molytinae and Cryptorhynchinae. This project aims to clarify the situation.

  • Pseudoxyonyx meregallii (Colonnelli), weevil
    Weevil genes

    Current weevil classification is determined largely on morphology – the external physical features of the beetles.  This project seeks additional information from genes to enhance and test current classification of the family Curculionidae.

  • Sitophilus oryzae, the rice weevil
    Establishing stability in weevil names

    This project is assessing the nomenaclatural status of the vast numbers of names used within the group.

  • Damnux – undescribed species from dipterocarp seed
    Seed feeding weevils

    Weevil larvae feeding in the seeds of tropical trees can cause immense loss. This project seeks greater understanding of the species present and their host preferences.

  • Strophosoma sus (Stephens), weevil
    Weevil information online

    A web-based system for online discussion and data access.  

  • A page of weevils from the Biologia Centrali-Americana
    INOTAXA project

    This new pilot system dynamically extracts and displays descriptions, keys, specimen information and many other data from legacy literature, in a way not possible for other systems.

Research leader

C Lyal
Dr Chris Lyal

Research entomologist specialising in weevil research.