Captain King’s lost weevil – alive and well in the Northern Territory?

Stefanie Oberprieler, Debbie Jennings, Rolf G. Oberprieler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The discovery of a ‘hairy’ yellow weevil in Kakadu National Park in 1995, akin to a widely distributed pest species of agricultural crops in South-East Asia (but not Australia), the so-called ‘Gold-dust Weevil’ (Hypomeces ‘squamosus’), prompted us to investigate the taxonomy and distribution of this weevil in order to determine the identity and origin of the Kakadu specimen. The ‘Gold-dust Weevil’, whose correct scientific name is H. pulviger (Herbst, 1795), is a sexually dimorphic and variable species and has been described under various names in the literature, but its taxonomy and nomenclature have never been investigated. The results of our research to date indicate that it comprises a complex of closely similar species and that the Australian specimen is not conspecific with those occurring further west and north in South-East Asia. We also found that a female conspecific with the Kakadu specimen was likely collected by Captain Phillip Parker King during his surveys of the northern Australian coast in about 1820 and described in 1826 by W. S. Macleay as Cenchroma obscura. King’s weevil has been forgotten for over 200 years, but the discovery of the Kakadu specimen suggests that this species, correctly named Hypomeces obscurus, may be present in northern Australia, albeit scarce and seemingly of no current agricultural concern.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-120
Number of pages15
JournalNorthern Territory Naturalist
Issue number2016
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Captain King’s lost weevil – alive and well in the Northern Territory?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this