Bulletin of Entomological Research

Research Paper

Study of the flying ability of Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Coleoptera: Dryophthoridae) adults using a computer-monitored flight mill

J.A. Ávalosa1, A. Martí-Campoya2 and A. Sotoa1 c1

a1 Instituto Agroforestal Mediterráneo (IAM), Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera s/n, 46022, Valencia, Spain

a2 Departamento de Informática de Sistemas y Computadores (DISCA), Universitat Politècnica de València, Camino de Vera s/n, 46022, Valencia, Spain


The red palm weevil, Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier) (Coleoptera: Dryophthoridae), native to tropical Asian regions, has become a serious threat to palm trees all over the world. Knowledge of its flight potential is vital to improving the preventive and curative measures currently used to manage this pest. As R. ferrugineus is a quarantine pest, it is difficult to study its flight potential in the field. A computer-monitored flight mill was adapted to analyse the flying ability of R. ferrugineus through the study of different flight parameters (number of flights, total distance flown, longest single flight, flight duration, and average and maximum speed) and the influence of the weevil's sex, age, and body size on these flight parameters. Despite significant differences in the adult body size (body weight and length) of males and females, the sex of R. ferrugineus adults did not have an influence on their flight potential. Neither adult body size nor age was found to affect the weevil's flying abilities, although there was a significantly higher percentage of individuals flying that were 8–23 days old than 1–7 days old. Compared to the longest single flight, 54% of the insects were classified as short-distance flyers (covering <100 m) and 36 and 10% were classified as medium- (100–5000 m) and long-distance (>5000 m), respectively. The results are compared with similar studies on different insect species under laboratory and field conditions.

(Accepted January 17 2014)

(Online publication April 17 2014)


  • Red palm weevil;
  • flight potential;
  • tethered;
  • dispersal;
  • behaviour;
  • Arecaceae


c1 Author for correspondence Phone: (+34) 963 879 252 Fax: (+34) 963 877 331 E-mail: asoto@eaf.upv.es