[align=left]*Several species of Florida's native bromeliads are under attack by an invasive pest weevil, the Mexican Bromeliad Eating Weevil, Metamasius callizona, here in Florida it's called the Evil Weevil.[/align]

[align=left]*The Florida Council of Bromeliad Societies, the University of Florida, the Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services, the Division of Plant Industry, and the Escuela Agricola Pananericana (El Zamorano, Honduras) are collaborating in an effort to manage weevil populations through biological controls. Populations of bromeliads and weevils are also being monitored at field sites in several state parks and natural areas.[/align]

[align=left]*Of Florida's 16 species of bromeliads, 13 are not found elsewhere in the United States, and one (Tillandsia simulata) is only found in Florida. The populations of Florida bromeliads are distinct from the West Indian populations from which they originated. There is also genetic variation among populations of certain species within Florida, particularly Tillandsia fasciculata. All of Florida's native species of bromeliads are epiphytic, though some species may sometimes be found growing terrestrially (Tillandsia utriculata and Tillandsia fasciculata).[/align]

[align=left]*At present, 576 weevil species are known from Florida, of which 526 are native, and a few of them are pests. Among the 50 species of foreign origin, 5 were introduced deliberately as biological control agents of weeds, the other 45 are immigrants.[/align]

[align=left]*Among the immigrants are some important pests, many of which arrived as stowaways in cargoes of plants and plant materials, were not detected by agriculture inspection, and established populations in Florida. Eleven of them, reported in the literature for the first time since 1970, are listed by Frank & McCoy in 1992. Alfalfa weevil, Apopka weevil (also called sugarcane rootstalk borer weevil), boll weevil, Fuller rose weevil, pepper weevil, and sweetpotato weevil are other pests that probably arrived as hitchhikers in cargoes. They are among the few weevil species in Florida that have been given English names, and that is because people encounter them commonly because their populations are large and they cause damage to crop plants. Hundreds of species of native weevils have not been given English names, and are poorly known, because they are interesting only to a few entomologists, not to the general public.[/align]

[align=left]*Five weevil species were introduced and released for biological control of aquatic weeds (hydrilla, waterhyacinth, waterlettuce, and watermilfoil) (Frank & McCoy 1993) and another more recently for control of Melaleuca (punk trees). Each of them is a specialized feeder on one of those weed species.[/align]

[align=left]*Florida now has three species of the genus Metamasius. One, M. mosieri, is a native, or at least has been in Florida for a long time. The second, M. hemipterus, is an immigrant detected in 1984 and attacks palms, banana plants, sugarcane, and pineapple; it has a wider range of hoast plants than do most Metamasius species. The third, M. callizona, detected in 1989, is also an immigrant, and attacks bromeliads. A fourth, M. monilis, which attacks orchids, was also an immigrant, but was eradicated soon after its in itial detection in a greenhouse in 1972. Rapid action by the Division of Plant Industry of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services eradicated Metamasius monilis soon after it was detected, but detection was too late for M. hemipterus and M. callizona.[/align]

[align=left]*If you would like to know more, and how this turned out, please visit the website of the University of Florida. It's worth a click, and it's a good read: http://savebromeliads.ifas.ufl.edu/*[/align]

[align=left]*Thanks for your interest, John:http://www.freewebs.com/jacksbromeliads/[/align]