What’s With the Little Holes in Acorns?

I’m sure you’ve all seen acorns with small holes in them, often right under the cap, like on this one. What causes that? To the best of my knowledge it’s actually an insect called acorn weevil, an insect in the genus Curculio. The female lays her egg in an immature acorn. The larva develops inside the acorn, and then when the nut ripens and falls it bores its way out to live in the soil until it’s ready to mature into an adult. If you want to see what the weevil actually looks like, it’s actually the subject of possibly one of the greatest insect photos of all time. For more information, the Michigan Entomological Society has a great page on acorn insects.

And now, because I’m talking about a species of Curculio, I’m sorry but I cannot resist posting the weevil joke from the naval movie Master and Commander. Again.

Capt. Jack Aubrey: Do you see those two weevils, doctor?
Dr. Stephen Maturin: I do.
Capt. Jack Aubrey: Which would you choose?
Dr. Stephen Maturin: Neither; there is not a scrap a difference between them. They are the same species of Curculio.
Capt. Jack Aubrey: If you had to choose. If you were forced to make a choice. If there was no other response…
Dr. Stephen Maturin: Well then, if you are going to push me… I would choose the right hand weevil. It has significant advantage in both length and breadth.
[the captain thumps his fist in the table]
Capt. Jack Aubrey: There, I have you! You’re completely dished! Do you not know that in the service, one must always choose the lesser of two weevils!

You’re welcome.

7 replies on “What’s With the Little Holes in Acorns?”

I am astonished to find yet another reference to the marvelous Aubrey-Maturin story series, and here in a link I have arrived at entirely by chance, following my nose about an article about the Cedarburg Bog in Wisconsin, from a link about Chippewa Falls. I think you have a wonderful blog about nature and those questions one always has, such as this one, about the weevil in the acorn. Kudos to you and your blog. Nature is always of great interest to many thousands of us. Thank yoiu.

Why, thanks, glad you enjoyed it! Stop by again sometime, I usually post new content three times a week. As for the Aubrey-Maturin stories, I first discovered them through the movie (as I mention in the post), but I’ve read a couple of the books as well.

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