ARTHROPOD MUSEUM NOTES

Number 86 • April 14, 2011 • Jeffrey K. Barnes

Cowpea curculio
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Curculionidae
Genus and species: Chalcodermus aeneus Boheman

Cowpea curculio

The cowpea curculio adults and larvae damage legumes by feeding on seeds within pods. It infests field peas, stringbeans, soybeans. Lima beans, cotton, and strawberries. Black-eyed peas and crowder peas are commonly attacked. Some leguminous weeds such as vetch are also attacked.

Adults are black, punctuate, humpbacked weevils measuring about a quarter of an inch long. They pass the winter in crop refuse or weeds. In the spring they puncture developing pods and with snouts as they feed. Females lay eggs in some of the feeding wounds. The young grubs infest developing seeds. After feeding for 2–3 weeks, the grubs chew exit holes through the pods,
drop to the ground, and pupate in the soil.

The cowpea curculio occurs primarily in the southeastern states, from Virginia to Florida in the east and from Oklahoma and Texas in the west. There are probably two generations in the more southern parts of the species’ distribution, but only one generation in the north.