Lizard weevil (Cathormiocerus britannicus)

Lizard weevil
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Lizard weevil fact file

Lizard weevil description

GenusCathormiocerus (1)

The Lizard weevil, so called because it is found only on the Lizard Peninsula, Cornwall, was once thought to be a species endemic to the British Isles (occurring no-where else). Recently, however it has been discovered that it may be a form of C. myrmecophilus (4) (5). It is a small weevil, with variegated colouring, the upper surface being somewhat paler than the underside (2).

Length: 2.6 - 2.9 mm (2)

Lizard weevil biology

Very little is known of the ecology of this species, the preferred foodplant is ribwort (Plantago lanceolata), and the larvae feed on roots (6). Males have never been found, and it is thought that the species is 'parthenogenetic'; females produce viable eggs without fertilisation taking place (2). The adults dwell on the ground (3) and are flightless (4).


Lizard weevil range

First discovered in Tintagel, Cornwall in 1908, this weevil has since been found only at a few sites on the Lizard Peninsula, and at one site in Dorset (3).

You can view distribution information for this species at the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.

Lizard weevil habitat

Typically inhabits short grassland at the edges of cliffs (6).


Lizard weevil status

Classified as Endangered in Great Britain (3).


Lizard weevil threats

Threats include decreases in grazing pressure on coastal cliffs, which reduces the availability of short grassland (6). Over-use by the public for recreational purposes causes damage to, and erosion of the habitat (3).


Lizard weevil conservation

This weevil has been identified as a priority under the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. The Species Action Plan that has been published, aims to maintain all current populations. Most occupied sites are owned by the National Trust, and are designated Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs); they therefore receive some legal protection. English Nature has included this weevil in its Species Recovery Programme, and has funded research into a number of weevils in the Cathormiocerus genus. The doubt as to the species status of this weevil may affect its conservation (6).

There may be further information about this species available via the National Biodiversity Network Atlas.
The UK Biodiversity Action Plan for this species is available at UK BAP.

Find out more

For more on English Nature's Species Recovery Programme see:



This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:



A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Stage in an animal's lifecycle after it hatches from the egg. Larvae are typically very different in appearance to adults; they are able to feed and move around but usually are unable to reproduce.
Viable eggs are produced without fertilisation having occurred. The individuals that result are genetically identical to their mother.


  1. National Biodiversity Network Species Dictionary (September 2002)
  2. Morris, M. G. (1997) Handbooks for the identification of British insects. Volume IV. Part 17a: Coleoptera, curculionidae (entiminae) Broad-nosed weevils. The Royal Entomological Society of London, London.
  3. Shirt, D. B (1987) British Red Data Books: 2 Insects. Nature Conservancy Council, Peterborough.
  4. The Coleopterist (August 2002)
  5. Piper, R.W., Comptona, S.G., Rasplus, J-Y. and Piry, S. (2001) The species status of Cathormiocerus britannicus, an endemic, endangered British Weevil. Biological Conservation, 101(1): 9-13
  6. UKBAP. (September 2002)

Image credit

Lizard weevil  
Lizard weevil

© Roger Key

Dr Roger Key
Tel: +44 (0) 1845 567 292


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