The root-feeding weevil Hylobius transversovittatus Goeze (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is used for biological control of the invasive plant purple loosestrife, Luthrum salicaria L. (Lythraceae). A simple rearing system for this weevil was developed with the goals of improving production techniques and increasing the availability of insects for field introduction. Additionally, the dietary effects of digestible and indigestible carbohydrates were explored. A meridic diet for rearing H. transversovittatus was formulated through nutritional alterations of a boll weevil, Anthonomus grandis grandis Boheman, diet. Diet attractiveness was evaluated on two levels: first, by recording the incidence of initial tunneling, and second, by estimating the larval establishment rate. The performance of test diet formulations was further assessed by measuring developmental and survival rates of H. transversovittatus. Sucrose, starch, and three types of indigestible carbohydrates were tested as components to improve diet performance. Physical properties of the diet, modified by fillers in test formulations, produced major effects on the initial tunneling of hatchlings. The establishment of hatchlings was affected by chemical properties of the diet. Increases in sucrose concentration decreased larval establishment, decreased the rate of larval development, and decreased larval survival. However, omitting sucrose from the diet, or replacing it with starch, increased mortality of first instars. In advanced stages of larval development, omitting sucrose from the diet did not significantly affect larval survival. The developmental rate of larvae was increased when the amount of digestible carbohydrate was reduced. To date, seven generations of the univoltine H. transversovittatus have been successfully produced on this new meridic diet.
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Vol. 100 • No. 4