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   Scyphophorus acupunctatus (insect)
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         Interim profile, incomplete information
    Taxonomic name: Scyphophorus acupunctatus Gyllenhal, 1838
    Synonyms: Rhyncophorus asperulus Dietz, Scyphophorus anthracinus Gyllenhal, Scyphophorus interstitialis Gyllenhal, Scyphophorus robustior Horn
    Common names: Acapiche del nardo, Agave billbug (English), Agave snout weevil (English), Agave snout-nosed beetle (English), Agave snout-nosed weevil (English), Agave weevil (English), black weevil (English), sisal borer (English), sisal weevil (English)
    Organism type: insect
    Scyphophorus acupunctatus is becoming a major pest of native Agavaceae and Dracaenaceae species worldwide. Native to Mexico, it has decimated populations of Agave crops there, in particular species used in the tequila and henequen industries. The importation of ornamental Agave plants worldwide has facilitated S. acupunctatus to establish in many parts of the world, particularly in Central America and the Carribean, in Africa, Asia and South America. On its host species, it causes rot and sometimes mortality due to its larvae boring holes which then facilitates micro-organims entering the host. Due to the species being found generally inside the host species, typical insecticides have proven ineffective. However research on the species' pheromones has shown that these could be a potential management tool, attracting individual adults away from hosts to collection sites.
    Description
    The adult wevil body length is between 10-19mm, body colour is black, without dorsal scales.
    The genus Scyphophorus has two species: S. acupunctatus - Sisal weevil and S. yucca - Yucca weevil.

    Please follow this link to the PaDIL (Pests and Diseases Image Library) species content page to view diagnostic images of S. acupunctatus as well as a list of characteristics that separate the two species. (Walker, 2008a).

    Occurs in:
    agricultural areas, host, scrub/shrublands
    Habitat description
    Scyphophorus acupunctatus is a specialist insect attacking plants belonging to the Agavaceae and Dracaenaceae (Ruiz-Montiel et al, 2008). It attacks sisal (Agave sisalana) and other plants such as ornamentals (Beaucarnea, Dasylirion and Yucca, Tuberose, Polianthes tuberosa) (Walker 2008c). Larvae and adults of this species are found in roots, lower leaves, and inside the heads, especially on plants already in the process of putrefaction.
    General impacts
    Scyphophorus acupunctatus is becoming a major pest of native Agavaceae and Dracaenaceae species worldwide. Native to Mexico, it has decimated populations of Agave crops there, in particular species used in the tequila and henequen industries (Hernandez et al, 2006; Bolanos et al, 2007). The importation of ornamental Agave plants worldwide has facilitated S. acupunctatus to establish in many parts of the world, particularly in Central America and the Carribean, in Africa, Asia and South America. On its host species, it causes rot and sometimes mortality due to its larvae boring holes which then facilitates micro-organims entering the host that decompose the plant tissues (Hernandez et al, 2007). S. acupunctatus has also been shown to be a vector of Erwinia carotovora which decomposes the host, causing putrefaction (Solis-Aguillar et al, 2001).
    Geographical range
    Native range: Scyphophorus acupunctatus is said to originate from the Western Hemisphere, most probably from Mexico (Morelos, Yucatan, Hidalgo, Mexico, Tlaxcala, Jalisco)
    Known range: Asia: Indonesia (Java, Kalimantan, Sumatra), Saudi Arabia; Africa: Kenya, South Africa, Tanzania; North America: Mexico, USA (Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas); Central America and Carribean: Cayman islands, Costa Rica, Cuba, Netherlands Antilles (including Curaçao), Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Nicaragua, Virgin Islands (US); South America: Belize, Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela (EPPO, 2008; Walker, 2008b; Netherlands Plant Protection Service, 2009).
    Local dispersal methods
    Horticulture (local): The importation of ornamental Agave plants worldwide has facilitated Scyphophorus acupunctatus to establish in many parts of the world, particularly in Central America and the Carribean, in Africa, Asia and South America (Netherlands Plant Protection Service, 2009).
    Management information
    Preventative measures: The Division of Fish and Wildlife on the island of St. Croix, US Virgin Islands, has undertaken public awareness information programmes to educate the public on native wildlife and what they can do to help protect them (Platenburg & Valiulis, 2009). The Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, on Curaçao, part of the Netherlands Antilles, has developed a presentation that discusses past introductions of alien species and their effects on native biodiversity as well as alert species that can pose new threats to the islands; Scyphophorus acupunctatus has been identified as a potential invasive. This presentation is given to Customs, Aerocargo, Department of Agriculture personnel, importers of plants, nature groups and the public in general in order to raise awareness (van Buurt, 2009).

    Chemical: Due to individuals being found within host plants and not externally, typical insecticides have proven ineffective. However current research has shown that isolated pheromones (Ruiz-Montiel et al, 2008) combined with effective collection tools like a Victor Trap could prove to be a potential control agent (Valdez et al, 2005).

    Reproduction
    Mating and oviposition take place predominantly on the bottom of the leaves or inside the agave head (Lock, 1962 as seen in Ruiz-Montiel et al, 2008)
    Lifecycle stages
    The life cycle takes about 50 – 90 days (Netherlands Plant Protection Service, 2009)
    Compiled by: IUCN SSC Invasive Species Specialist Group (ISSG) with support from the Overseas Territories Environmental Programme (OTEP) project XOT603, a joint project with the Cayman Islands Government - Department of Environment
    Last Modified: Wednesday, 2 June 2010


ISSG Landcare Research NBII IUCN University of Auckland