The pepper weevil, Anthonomus eugeniiCano (Coleoptera: Curculionidae), is a major pest of cultivated peppers (Capsicum spp.) and other cultivated and wild species within the family Solanaceae. Laboratory study of this insect, as well as its biological control agents, will be greatly facilitated by an artificial rearing system that does not rely on pepper fruit. An egg collection method and amendments to a standard larval diet were investigated for use in the rearing of this weevil. Spherical sachets made of Parafilm or netting enclosing leaves of pepper, American black nightshade, eggplant, tomato, potato, and jasmine tobacco induced oviposition. Tomato, potato, and jasmine tobacco leaves were accepted despite the fact that these are not oviposition hosts for pepper weevils in the wild. A standard larval diet formula was modified in an attempt to improve egg hatch, larval survival, developmental time, and adult mass. The diet formula was modified with the addition of freeze-dried jalapeño pepper powder, an additional lipid source, alternate protein sources, and the removal of methyl paraben. None of the aforementioned treatments resulted in a significant improvement over the standard diet. Egg hatch was greater when eggs were incubated on moist paper towels rather than in diet; thus, placement of neonates rather than eggs into diet improved production of adults. Suggestions for more efficient rearing of weevils on the currently available diet and future directions for the development of an artificial rearing system for pepper weevil are discussed.
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Vol. 102 • No. 1