Rhinocyllus conicus

    Description

    Length: 4 to 7 mm. A black weevil with a tessellated pattern of pale pubescence on the elytra. The rostrum is very short.

    Identification difficulty
    Habitat

    On thistles in open or disturbed ground. Predominantly coastal.

    Life History

    The larvae develop in the heads of Cirsium and Curduus species of thistle. This weevil is native to Eurasia and North Africa but was introduced to the United States for thistle biocontrol in 1969, and it is now widely established in that country. The weevil was found to be very effective in reducing the spread of invasive thistles, particularly musk thistle, but also damaged native thistles and is no longer used for biocontrol.

    UK Status

    Widespread but local in Southern England. The species now seems to be spreading northwards, reaching Warwickshire in 2006 and Leicestershire in 2014.

    VC55 Status

    Previously rare in Leicestershire and Rutland.  The mating pair found at Croft Pasture on 20th June 2014 were the first specimens to be recorded in VC55 but now becoming more widespread.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    UK Map