Pea leaf weevil

Pea leaf weevil

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Credit: DR. JOHN BRACKENBURY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Pea leaf weevil. High-speed photograph of a pea leaf weevil (Sitona lineatus) preparing for take- off from a seed head. This beetle has raised its hard elytra (brown, upper left and right) and has exposed its membranous wings. Most weevils possess two sets of wings, but the pea leaf weevil lacks the secondary hindwings. The elytra are used as fixed-bearing platforms during flight, rather like the wings of an aeroplane, whilst the propulsion is supplied by the forewings. This system is unique to beetles, and results in erratic, clumsy flight. The pea leaf weevil is a serious pest of pea plants, heavy infestations causing destruction of whole plants.

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Keywords: animal, beetle, crop, elytra, flight, flying, high-speed photography, insect, insecta, invertebrate, invertebrates, nature, pea leaf weevil, pest, plant pathology, sitona lineatus, take-off, wildlife, wings, zoology

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