Notes on Weevil Classifications

The classification of weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea) has been in flux for decades. The problem is partly due to the difficulties in recognizing monophyletic units among the higher taxa, and partly because of their poor characterization. With the gradual clarification of relationships between families and subfamilies a difference in viewpoints has emerged between those that favour fewer larger taxa and those who recognize a more atomized classification. The two most recent views are given as separate trees on the left-hand bar of this website. The classification at the top is amended from that of Alonso-Zarazaga & Lyal, 1999, which broadly follows that of Thompson, 1992. It includes all genera, since they placed them in their catalogue, and it used as the default classification on this site because of the detail possible. The alternative is that presented by Oberprieler, Marvaldi & Anderson, 2007, building both on their earlier work and that of Kuschel, 1995. Oberprieler et al’s classification is not complete, but comments can be made on pages linked to any of the taxa shown.

There have been a number of excellent studies and critiques of weevil higher classification and diversity in the past few years.  Most if not all papers can be found in the bibliography of this website, but important works include:

Anderson, R.S. 1995. An evolutionary perspective on diversity in Curculionoidea.  Mem. Ent Soc Wash 14:103-114.

Cognato, A.I. & Grimaldi, D. (2009) 100 million years of morphological conservation in bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae). Systematic Entomology, 34, 93–100.

Farrell, B.D. 1998. "Inordinate fondness" explained: Why are there so many beetles? Science

Farrell, B.D.; Sequeira, A.S.; O'Meara, B.;  Normark, B.B.; Chung, J.H.; Jordal, B.H. 2001.
The evolution of agriculture in beetles (Curculionidae: Scolytinae and Platypodinae). Evolution

Farrell, B.D.; Sequeira, A.S. 2004. Evolutionary rates in the adaptive radiation of beetles on plants. Evolution 58:1984-2001.

Franz, N.M. & Engel, M.S., 2010.  Can higher-level phylogenies of weevils explain their evolutionary success? A critical review.  Systematic Entomology, 35, 597–606.  DOI:

Hunsdoerfer, A.K.; Rheinheimer, J.; Wink, M.  2009.  Towards the phylogeny of the Curculionoidea (Coleoptera): Reconstructions from mitochondrial and nuclear ribosomal DNA sequences.  Zoologischer Anzeiger 248 (2009) 9-31

Hunt, T.; Bergsten, B.; Levkanicova, Z.; Papadopoulou, A.; St John, O.; Wild, R.; Hammond, P.M.; Ahrens, D.; Balke, M.; Caterhino, M.S.; Gomez-Zurita, J.; Ribera, I.; Barraclough, T.G.; Bocakova, M.; Bocak, L.; Vogler, A.P. 2007. A comprehensive phylogeny of beetles reveals the evolutionary origins of a superradiation. Science 318:1913-1916.

Jordal, B.H.; Normark, B.B.; Farrell, B.D. 2000. Evolutionary radiation of an inbreeding haplodiploid beetle lineage (Curculionidae, Scolytinae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 71:483-499.

Jordal, B.H., 2007.  Reconstructing the Phylogeny of Scolytinae and Close Allies: Major Obstacles and Prospects for a Solution. USDA Forest Service Proceedings RMRS-P-45. 1-9

Jordal, B.J., Sequeira, A.S. & Cognato, A.I., 2011.  The age and phylogeny of wood boring weevils and the origin of subsociality.  Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 59(3):708-24. Epub 2011 Mar 22.

Kuschel, G. 1995. A phylogenetic classification of Curculionoidea to families and subfamilies. Mem Ent Soc Wash 14:5-33.

Kuschel, G.; Leschen, R.A.B.; Zimmerman, E.C. 2000. Platypodidae under scrutiny. Invertebrate

Lefevre, C.; Charles, H.; Vallier, A.; Delobel, B.; Farrell, B.D.; Heddi, A. 2004. Endosymbiont phlyogenesis in the Dryophthoridae weevils: Evidence for bacterial replacement. Molecular Biology and Evolution 21: 965-973.

Marvaldi, A.E. 1997. Higher level phylogeny of Curculionidae (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea) based mainly on larval characters, with special reference to broad-nosed weevils. Cladistics 13:285-312.

Marvaldi, A.E., 2003, Key to larvae of the South American subfamilies of weevils (Coleoptera, Curculionoidea).  Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, 76: 603-612.

Marvaldi, A.E. 2005. Larval morphology and biology of oxycorynine weevils and the higher phylogeny of the Belidae (Coleoptera, Curculionoidea). Zoologica Scripta 34:37-48.

Marvaldi, A.E.; Duckett, C.N.; Kjer, K.M.; Gillespie, J.J. 2009. Structural alignment of 18S and 28S rDNA sequences provides insights in to phylogeny of Phytophaga (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea and Chrysomeloidea). Zoologica Scripta 38:63-77.

Marvaldi, A.E.; Lanteri, A.A., 2005.  Key to higher taxa of South American weevils based on adult characters (Coleoptera, Curculionoidea).  Revista Chilena de Historia Natural.  78:

Marvaldi, A.E.; Morrone, J.J. 2000. Phylogenetic systematics of weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea): A reappraisal based on larval and adult morphology. Insect Syst Evol 31:43-58.

Marvaldi, A.E.; Oberprieler, R.G.; Lyal, C.H.C.; Bradbury, T.; Anderson, R.S. 2006. Phylogeny of the Oxycoryninae s.l. (Coleoptera Phytophaga) and evolution of plant-weevil interactions. Invertebrate

Marvaldi, A.E.; Sequeira, A.S.; O'Brien, C.W.; Farrell, B.D. 2002. Molecular and morphological phylogenetics of weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea): Do niche shifts accompany diversification? Systematic Biology 51:761-785.

McKenna, D.D.; Farrell, B.D. 2006, Tropical forests are both evolutionary cradles and museums of leaf beetle diversity.  PNAS,  103 (29): 10947-10951 (July 18, 2006)

McKenna, D.D.; Sequeira, A.S.; Marvaldi, A.E.; Farrell, B.D., 2009,  Temporal lags and overlap in the
diversification of weevils and flowering plants.  PNAS Early Edition,  

Morrone, J.J., 2000. Mexican weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea): a preliminary key to families and subfamilies.  Acta Zoo. Mex. (n.s.) 80:131-141

Normark, B.B.; Jordal, B.H.; Farrell, B.D. 1999. Origin of a haplodiploid beetle lineage. Proceedings
of the Royal Society Biological Series B

Oberprieler, R.G.; Marvaldi, A.E.; Anderson, R.S. 2007. Weevils, weevils, weevils everywhere. Zootaxa 1668:491-520.

Sequeira, A.S.; Farrell, B.D. 2001. Evolutionary origins of Gondwanan interactions: How old are Araucaria beetle herbivores? Biological Journal of the Linnean Society 74:459-474

Sequeira, A.S.; Normark, B.B.; Farrell, B.D. 2000. Evolutionary assembly of the conifer fauna: Distinguishing ancient from recent associations in bark beetles. Proceedings of the Royal
Society Biological Series B

Thompson, R.T. 1992. Observations on the morphology and classification of weevils (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea) with a key to the major groups. J Nat Hist 26:835-891.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith