The Lizard weevil, so called because it is found only on the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, was once thought to be a species endemic to the British Isles (occurring no-where else). Recently, however it has been discovered that it may be a form of C. myrmecophilus (4)(5). It is a small weevil, with variegated colouring, the upper surface being somewhat paler than the underside (2).
Very little is known of the ecology of this species, the preferred foodplant is ribwort (Plantago lanceolata), and the larvae feed on roots (6). Males have never been found, and it is thought that the species is 'parthenogenetic'; females produce viable eggs without fertilisation taking place (2). The adults dwell on the ground (3) and are flightless (4).
Threats include decreases in grazing pressure on coastal cliffs, which reduces the availability of short grassland (6). Over-use by the public for recreational purposes causes damage to, and erosion of the habitat (3).
This weevil has been identified as a priority under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. The Species Action Plan that has been published, aims to maintain all current populations. Most occupied sites are owned by the National Trust, and are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs); they therefore receive some legal protection. English Nature has included this weevil in its Species Recovery Programme, and has funded research into a number of weevils in the Cathormiocerus genus. The doubt as to the species status of this weevil may affect its conservation (6).
Morris, M. G. (1997) Handbooks for the identification of British insects. Volume IV. Part 17a: Coleoptera, curculionidae (entiminae) Broad-nosed weevils. The Royal Entomological Society of London, London.
Shirt, D. B (1987) British Red Data Books: 2 Insects. Nature Conservancy Council, Peterborough.
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