Tiny Invader, Palm Beach County, Florida


Photograph by Nick Zantop

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I could try to claim that my eye for detail is just that good, but to be honest, what caught my eye was the small bromeliad. It was only after I had snapped a few shots of the little epiphyte that this Sri Lanka Weevil (Myllocerus undecimpustulatus undatus) crawled from within his leafy fortress, making himself visible and offering a great shot.

This small herbivorous beetle looks almost cute – if you’re a bug lover – and while it might be tiny, it doesn’t belong in South Florida. A native to Sri Lanka, Myllocerus undecimpustulatus undatus has firmly established itself in South Florida, first showing up in 2000, and since its arrival it has been recorded living on more than 81 host plants in more than 12 counties. With such a varied appetite – and a voracious one at that, it joins the list of countless other invasive species that are damaging both agriculture and the natural ecosystem in Florida.

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