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curculio (kərkyōˈlēō) [key], name applied to various weevils (members of the snout beetle family, or Curculionidae), especially those that attack fruit. The term is sometimes limited to the acorn and nut weevils of the genus Curculio, characterized by extremely long beaks adapted for boring. The females, whose beaks may be twice as long as their bodies, lay their eggs in holes bored in the nuts. The larvae feed on the nuts, later pupating (see insect) in the soil. The plum curculio, Conotrachelus nenuphar, is a serious pest of peach, plum, cherry, and apple, causing deformed and prematurely falling fruit. In spring the adults leave their winter shelter in piles of rubbish and fly to blossoming or early fruiting trees, where they feed for a week or more before mating. Eggs are laid in the fruit in slits made by the female, and the larvae feed for two to three weeks before pupating in the ground. Curculios are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Coleoptera, family Curculionidae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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