03/19/07 - Small banana weevil now in the contentinal United States

Received from:
Dr. Wayne N. Dixon, Chief
Bureau of Entomology, Nematology and Plant Pathology and Program Manager
Florida Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey
email: dixonw@doacs.state.fl.us

Dr. Mike Thomas has appraised me of our newest immigrant. A plant sample that first went to Plant Pathology was subsequently found to have a small weevil that is an economic pest of bananas and new to the U.S.: the small banana weevil, Polytus mellerborgii (Boheman).

Dr. Charlie O’Brien, an FSCA Research Associate, did the identification. The weevil originally was Asian, but has been moved all over the world. It has been recorded from Central America, Hawaii, Fiji, Micronesia, India, and Australia. The Homestead, Florida, homeowner, who sent in the sample, says it is all over the bananas she is involved with. It was first seen this year. Dr. Jorge Pena of the University of Florida will contact the homeowner and do more survey in the area.

There is some web information:
which includes a small photograph.

Natural History: The only species in this genus, Polytus mellerborgii (Boheman), is associated with bananas, and it is known as the small banana weevil. It has been widely introduced into banana growing areas around the world from its native Malaysia.

Distribution: Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and Panama; introduced from Old World.

The UF/IFAS Pest Alert WWW site is at: http://entomology.ifas.ufl.edu/pestalert/