Weevil (Protapion ryei)

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Weevil Protapion ryei, on leaf litter
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Weevil fact file

Weevil description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumArthropoda
ClassInsecta
OrderColeoptera
FamilyApionidae
GenusProtapion (1)

This black weevil has bright orange swellings on the upper parts of the legs. The taxonomic status of this weevil is not clear; it is thought that it may be the same species as P. assimile, which is common. Further work is therefore needed to determine if this is the case (1).

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Weevil biology

Little is known of the biology of this weevil. Adults are found in spring and autumn and spend the winter in hibernation. The larvae feed in the heads of red clover (Trifolium pratense) in summer (1).

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Weevil range

This potentially endemic weevil is found only in Shetland, the Hebrides and Orkney. Although this range is very restricted, the species is fairly abundant where it occurs (1).

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Weevil habitat

Inhabits grassland, machair and wasteland (1).

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Weevil status

Classified as Nationally Scarce and endemic in Britain (1).

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Weevil threats

The potential threats facing this species are not known at present (1).

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Weevil conservation

This weevil is listed as a priority species under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan and a Species Action Plan has been produced to coordinate its conservation. The most pressing requirement is for the taxonomy of this weevil to be determined (1). If it does prove to be an endemic species, conservation action can begin. In the mean-time, however, monitoring is in place to keep track of the populations.

The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.
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Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact: arkive@wildscreen.org.uk
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Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Hibernation
A winter survival strategy characteristic of some mammals in which an animal’s metabolic rate slows down and a state of deep sleep is attained. Whilst hibernating, animals survive on stored reserves of fat that they have accumulated in summer. In insects, the correct term for hibernation is ‘diapause’, a temporary pause in development and growth. Any stage of the lifecycle (eggs, larvae, pupae or adults) may enter diapause, which is typically associated with winter.
Larvae
Stage in an animal's lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
Machair
A type of coastal grassland found only in western Ireland and the north and west of Scotland that is characterised by calcareous sand blown inland by strong winds.
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References

  1. UK BAP Species Action Plan for Protapion ryei. (November, 2003)
    http://www.ukbap.org.uk
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Image credit

Weevil Protapion ryei, on leaf litter   
Weevil Protapion ryei, on leaf litter

© Roger Key

Dr Roger Key
Tel: +44 (0) 1845 567 292
key_r_s@yahoo.co.uk

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