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CULT: Iris Snout Beetle


From: HIPSource@aol.com

Bill Shear, responding to my seed vermin question, wrote:

<< Anner, in WORLD OF IRISES (I think) there is a picture of the seed weevil,
 which as a larva bores out the centers of seeds.  I don't know how specific
 this weevil is; perhaps it can attack several kinds of irises. I don't have
 the book here with me so can't check it now.>>

Thank you, BilI found the passage. It starts on page 357 of the WORLD OF
IRISES for anyone who wants to read along.

Bill is talking about the Iris Snout Beetle, Monomychus vulpeculus, which
attacks mainly the beardless irises. I did not make the connection with my
insect since the seeds I received seemed perfectly normal in appearance and
were separated from the pod entirely. For some reason I had visualized this
critter as inhabiting the pod or attacking the seed while in the pod rather
than inhabiting the actual seed. 

It says the eggs are laid within the ovary of the flower, which can be
considerably disfigured by these bugs. The larvae develop "in the seed pods".
The pupa is found "within the seed pod" and the adult emerges "when the
seedpod splits open." The adult beetle overwinters in debris----where most
iris problems overwinter----and becomes active when the irises are in bloom.
It lays eggs only in beardless iris capsules, preferring I. versicolor and the
Sibericae. It likes blue and it doesn't care for white. In hardship times it
will attack TBs, so even though it is apparently found in the wild in native
stands of Sibericae and Laevigatae, I guess we should not be surprised to see
it in Hexagonae.  The range is from New England to Wisconsin and down to
Georgia, with some also having been found in Germany and Czechslovakia.

Little research towards control had been done as of the writing of the WOI,
and the best advice was to remove all unwanted seed pods early. There is a
photograph of the beetle beside the seed, which is hollowed out, apparently
from within. It is said to be emerging and there is a fine formal similarity
between the bug and the hole. Reminds one of that great bit in Schopenhauer
about the stag beetles digging their holes large enough to accomodate the
antlers they had not yet grown. That sort of thing gave him the willies, but I
think it is kewl.  

Thank you again, Bill. I appreciate your help. 

Anner Whitehead
HIPSource@aol.com

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