Central and South America native palm weevil is threatening the staple of Southern California’s flora – the date palm. Scientists have been tracking the pest in order to better understand its impact of natural habitats. It turns out that its range the speed of flight is much higher than previously known. A couple of dozens of larvae can kill a palm tree in under 50 days. Their mobility threatens a local economy dependent on data palms, values at over $100 million, in Coachella valley, but can have an impact felt as far as Western Texas.
- The American or black palm weevil is native to Central and South America, but has been found in Texas and Arizona.
- UC Riverside researchers discovered that females of the species can fly more than 100 kilometers in a day.
- The destructive weevils could threaten Coachella Valley’s $100 million date palm industry.
“Hoddle and colleagues tested R. palmarum flight by tethering 87 weevils to a flight mill, which measured the speed and distance flown in a laboratory.”