Palms around the world are ruthlessly attacked and damaged by the Red Palm Weevil. It targets coconut, date, oil and other palms causing great economic loss to the growers. In some countries it not only causes direct losses but also transmits diseases as a vector of dreaded red ring disease in oil palm in latin American countries.
The red weevil is reported to be a native of south Asia but surprisingly no natural enemy of any consequence is noticed in this part. Perhaps that is the reason why the pest has spread to newer regions in the past two decades at a phenomical speed. As the scientific community makes concerted efforts to suppress the pest, evidence is emerging about the occurrence of the pest from newer areas and continents.
On a evolutionary basis, it is safe to say that the red palm weevils are divided in to several species. The ones present in Asia especially India, Sri Lanka, Malaysia etc are categorized as Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Oliv. The species found in Americas is R. palmarum and the one in Africa is R. phoenicious.
Recent advances in biotechnology have facilitated the understanding of evolutionary biology of various species or varients of Rhynchophorus species. It is hoped that the information gathered on these lines will ultimately help the biologists to understand the intricate mechanisms of evolutionary genetics and lead to more effective means of managing these pests. An interesting area for intensive research is the palm weevil genomics. The studies will pave the way for the application of novel methods of control in future.