Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Another Amazing Insect

I did contact the county extension office as someone recommended. I sent them this photo and they told me it was a weevil, but not a cotton boll weevil. It is actually a PECAN weevil. They do damage pecan crops and are only in some Texas counties, but ours is one of them. I thought I'd leave the rest of this post as-is since I found out so much about the boll weevil. :-)

Today, we had another beautiful backyard find. After taking about 30 photos of him, he suprisingly flew away. (He'd been so still and patient with us that I figured he couldn't fly.) So, we went inside, downloaded the photos and grabbed one of our insect guides to look him up. So, what is he? (As always, he looks so much more amazing if you click the photo to enlarge it!)

A Boll Weevil. Yes, the kind that causes so much trouble to cotton farmers.

Our next step was to go online and do a little research on this tiny little insect. (That's Alexandra's hand in the photo - the weevil is sitting on the leaf.) This beetle migrated from Mexico to the US, across the Rio Grande into Texas, in the late 1800's and had spread across all cotton growing areas by the 1920's, devastating the industry. Pesticides such as DDT were developed after WWII and farmers could once again grow cotton profitably. But, of course, such pesiticides were costly and very damaging to the environment.

"The boll weevil infestation, however, has been credited with bringing about economic diversification in the southern US, including the expansion of peanut cropping." (from this site)

Being a Texan, I find it interesting that the spread of the fire ant (something we have to watch out for daily here in south Texas!) has been a factor in the decline of the number of weevils.
Anyway, I wonder what this little guy was doing in our backyard. I guess he just came to visit so we could have a little nature study. What's in your backyard?


Theresa said...

Very, very cool critter! Great photo, too!

Unknown said...

Truly amazing. I love all our new technology that allows us to capture an image and then look at it over and over to identify it. Isn't it amazing how something so small can actually be so incredibly complex?

Thanks for sharing. I was wondering if you would share with the Charlotte Mason blog carnival. I am hosting this next edition and I would love to have an entry from you.

Here's the place to enter:

Thanks and love your blog and I think more families would benefit from your ideas for art and nature study....

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Robin said...

What a great picture. You really have the most amazing detail to your photos!

Ed Darrell said...

It might be a good idea to contact your county extension agent to report the bug. Such sightings are critical to the campaign to eradicate it from the U.S. Texas is about the last place they live in this country.

The extension agent may not care, too -- but that would be a good sign.

Dana Leeds said...

Thanks, Ed. I emailed them in case they are interested.

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