• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

Elephant weevil, dangerous pest to wine industry, found in shipment to Southern California

The orthorhinus cylindrirostris, commonly known as the elephant weevil, is a major threat to the wine industry. It's native to Australia.
September 12, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Customs and Border Protection authorities said they intercepted a live insect that poses a major threat to the wine industry in a shipment to the Los Angeles-Long Beach seaport. This is the first time the pest was found in the U.S.

Orthorhinus cylindrirostris, commonly known as the elephant weevil, was discovered Aug. 30 on the floor of a container bringing fresh oranges from Australia, destined to Ft. Pierce, Fla.

The elephant weevil, which is native to Australia, attacks roots, stems and fruit of cultivated vine crops causing holes, stunted growth and weakened structure. It also feeds on eucalyptus and other horticultural plants such as citrus, blueberry bushes and fruit trees.

"Had this pest gone undetected, it could have had a serious impact on the California wine industry," said Todd C. Owen, the CBP director of Los Angeles field operations, in a press release.

Named for its long slender snout that resembles that of an elephant trunk, the elephant weevil's tiny body ranges from about 10 to 20 millimeters. The pest intercepted by CBP was a little less than an inch.

The shipment was fumigated and released on Sept. 7.


Load Comments