/wee"veuhl/, n.
1. Also called snout beetle. any of numerous beetles of the family Curculionidae, which have the head prolonged into a snout and which are destructive to nuts, grain, fruit, etc.
2. any of numerous related beetles.
[bef. 900; ME wevel, OE wifel; c. OHG wibil beetle; akin to WAVE]

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Any of about 40,000 beetle species in the largest family of beetles, Curculionidae, which is also the largest family in the animal kingdom.

Most weevils have long, elbowed antennae that may fold into special grooves on the prominent snout. Many species are wingless. Most species are less than 0.25 in. (6 mm) long, are plainly coloured and marked, and feed exclusively on plants. Some species are more than 3 in. (80 mm) long. The larvae may feed on only a certain part of a plant or a single plant species; adults are less specialized. The family includes many destructive pests, including the boll weevil.

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also called  snout beetle, 

      true weevil of the insect order Coleoptera (beetles and weevils). Curculionidae not only is the largest coleopteran family (about 40,000 species) but is thought to be the largest family in the animal kingdom. Most weevils have long, distinctly elbowed antennae that may fold into special grooves on the snout. Many have no wings, whereas others are excellent fliers. Most are less than 6 mm (0.25 inch) in length, although the largest exceed 80 mm (3 inches). Although most are brown or gray, a few, like the diamond beetle Entimus of Brazil, are brightly coloured.

      The majority of weevils feed exclusively on plants. The fleshy, legless larvae of most species feed only on a certain part of a plant, i.e., the flower head, seeds, fleshy fruits, stems, or roots. Many larvae feed either on a single plant species or on closely related ones. Adult weevils tend to be less specialized in their feeding habits.

      Weevils have probably been successful because of the development of the snout, which is used not only for penetration and feeding but also for boring holes in which to lay eggs. This family includes some extremely destructive pests (e.g., the grain weevil Sitophilus granarius, the rice weevil S. oryzae, and the boll weevil Anthonomus grandis).

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

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  • weevil — O.E. wifel small beetle, from P.Gmc. *webilaz (Cf. O.S. wibil, O.H.G. wibil, Ger. Wiebel beetle, chafer, O.N. tordyfill dung beetle ), cognate with Lith. vabalas beetle, from PIE root *webh to weave, also to move quickly (see …   Etymology dictionary

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  • weevil — [wē′vəl] n. [ME wevel < OE wifel, akin to MLowG wevel < IE * webh , to move to and fro, WEAVE] any of various families of beetles (esp. Curculionidae) having the head prolonged into a projecting beak that usually curves downward, and… …   English World dictionary

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  • weevil — [15] Old English had a word wifel ‘beetle’, but this appears to have died out, and weevil was probably borrowed from Middle Low German wevel. Both words had the same ultimate origin, however: prehistoric Germanic *webilaz. It is not clear whether …   The Hutchinson dictionary of word origins

  • weevil — UK [ˈwiːv(ə)l] / US [ˈwɪv(ə)l] noun [countable] Word forms weevil : singular weevil plural weevils an insect that eats plants and can destroy crops …   English dictionary

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