The Bug Geek

Insects. Doing Science. Other awesome, geeky stuff.

Forgotten Photo Friday: Otiorhynchus ligustici – Alfalfa Snout Beetle

Found crawling up the siding of my house in May: Otiorhynchus ligustici – the Alfalfa Snout Beetle. 

Native to Europe, accidentally introduced to North America in the late 1800’s, declared a pest in New York in 1933, and spread to Canada in the mid 60’s.  It has only been detected in a few towns in eastern Ontario.  It is supremely pesty to alfalfa plants everywhere.

But, although it is pesty, it is a VERY BIG AND AWESOMELY SCALY BEETLE!  And, since it is a Curculionid, it looks like Gonzo.  They all do.  So I love it, just a little bit.

Update since this is an invasive pest, and it is not terribly widespread, I alerted my provincial ministry of agriculture about the find.  They’re interested!  A survey  of the area may be conducted in the spring (they emerge in April) to determine if this little dude was just a lone hitch-hiker from one of the known infestations or if he represents a new one.  Cool!

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Completely unrelated sidebar to update on my student-ey existence: I had a mini-breakdown this week over the utter craziness of my workload and how behind I am (although said breakdown may have been caused, at least in part, by a mostly sleepless night which I tried to counteract with about eleventy-thousand cups of black coffee the next day.  About the latter, a friend and reader of this blog accurately said: “You get where caffeine keeps your eyes open but your brain is asleep. Then you start hallucinating.”  And this ACTUALLY HAPPENED.  About ten minutes before I had to teach my second lab of the week.  Trying to give a pre-lab lecture whilst in a caffeine-induced hallucinatory state is … well, it’s pretty special. )   Oh, the good thing is:  the labs are going really well (despite the coffee) and my students are happy.  Therefore, I am happy. (Have I mentioned that I love teaching?  Because I really do.)  Now I just have to get all my other academic sh_t together, and I’ll be laughing all the way to my comps.

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7 responses to “Forgotten Photo Friday: Otiorhynchus ligustici – Alfalfa Snout Beetle

  1. Warren January 21, 2011 at 8:28 PM

    This FOB (Friend Of Blog, not to be confused with my other name: SOB) sounds like a dapper chap!

  2. Warren January 21, 2011 at 8:31 PM

    Oops! What I meant was, great photos! Wonderful teacher, brilliant blogger … truly fortunate will be the employer who is blessed by your presence!

  3. dang January 22, 2011 at 8:00 AM

    Ah yes, I know too well about caffeine. Maybe that’s what happened to me, my brains not just asleep, it’s dead now. Anyway, love your shots of the Curculionid. Being a novice, I didn’t know the difference between them and blister beetles, so avoided handling the first ones I found. You managed much better shots than I took. Hope you had some good sleep and the next class is even better.

    • TGIQ January 22, 2011 at 9:37 AM

      Curculionids pretty much always have a fairly distinctive curved “snout” at the end of their face. The head itself is usually narrow, and the antennae attach in front of the eyes, on the snout. They’re also usually quite heavy-bodied and “crunchy”-lookiing. The blister beetles have very soft bodies in comparison, and often have warning coloration of some kind. Once you get a search image for these guys, it’s impossible to “unsee” their distinctive features. 🙂

  4. Pingback: An Inordinate Fondness #13 « The Dispersal of Darwin

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