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Adults may live for several weeks to several months as long as moisture is available (up to 26 weeks in captivity).

Palmetto weevil adults are active fliers and can be found throughout the year in Florida.

In palm species with upright leaves, such as the Canary Island date palm, the older leaves begin to droop during the early stages of infestation but quickly collapse thereafter.

As the infestation progresses, the larval feeding damage and associated rot is so severe that the integrity of the crown is compromised and the top of the palm falls over. If the palm is pulled apart at this stage, larvae, cocoons, and even adults may be found within the crown region.

Early detection of weevil infestation is difficult, and treatment even in the early stages of infestation may be too late to save the tree depending upon the amount of damage to the apical meristem. In the early 1980's, the silky cane weevil (Metamasius hemipterus sericeus (Oliver)) was accidentally introduced into Dade County, Florida.

This insect is an important pest of sugarcane and other plants, including palms, in the Neotropics.

While some adults feed outside the plant, the larvae (or grubs), which have relatively large mandibles and are legless, feed cryptically within the host plant.

Worldwide, there are ten described species of weevils in the genus Rhynchophorus that feed on palms.The largest weevil in North America is the palmetto weevil, Rhynchophorus cruentatus Fabricius.The palmetto weevil is native to Florida and until recently was the only species of palm weevil in the continental United States.Eggs hatch in about three days and begin to feed on palm tissue.As they molt (grow and shed their cuticle) the larvae have an increasingly larger appetite and tend to feed primarily in the soft tissue surrounding the apical meristem.After a few weeks, an adult emerges from the pupal case and may immediately break free of the cocoon or wait within the cocoon for several days to weeks before emerging.

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