Rhyzopertha dominica (Fabricius, 1792)

Nardi, Gianluca & Mifsud, David, 2015, The Bostrichidae of the Maltese Islands (Coleoptera), ZooKeys 481, pp. 69-108: 74-76

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scientific name

Rhyzopertha dominica (Fabricius, 1792)


Taxon classification Animalia Coleoptera Bostrichidae

Rhyzopertha dominica (Fabricius, 1792) 

Rhyzopertha dominica  : Hyde and Daubney 1960: 120.

Rhyzopertha dominica  (Fabricius, 1792): Denux and Zagatti 2010: 348.

Literature records.

Malta: Floriana, St. Publius site, 1958, on grain, 1 ex ( Hyde and Daubney 1960); “MT” [= Malta] ( Denux and Zagatti 2010).

Material examined.

Malta: St. Thomas Bay, 27.VI.1990, DM, 1 ex (CMM); Zejtun, 20.VII.1989, DM, attracted to light, 1 ex (CMM); 15.IX.1989, DM, 1 ex (CNI); 21.IX.1989, DM, 1 ex (CMM); 28.IX.1989, DM, 1 ex (CMM); 10.IX.2001, DM, 1 ex (CMM); 24.XI.2001, DM, 2 ex (CMM; CNI); 3.VII.2002 DM, 1 ex (CMM).


Cosmopolitan ( Potter 1935, as Rhizopertha dominica  , Borowski 2007). This species is widespread in the Palaeartic region (cf. Nardi 2004b, Borowski 2007). The followings territories were not included in its distribution provided by Borowski (2007): Bhutan ( Taylor and Halliday 1986), Bulgaria ( Zidan and Obretenchev 2009), China (Anhui, Chongqing, Guangdong, Guizhou, Hebei, Henan, Hubei, Hunan, Jiangxi, Shandong, Sichuan) ( Lesne 1904, as Rhizopertha dominica  , Song et al. 2012), Iran (cf. Abivari 2001, as Rhizopertha dominica  , Ziaee et al. 2006, Ashouri and Shayesteh 2009), Israel ( Halperin and Damoiseau 1980, as Rhizopertha dominica  , Chikatunov et al. 2004, as Rhyzoperta  [sic!] dominica  , Chikatunov et al. 2006, as Rhizopertha dominica  ), Jordan ( Sharaf et al. 1983), Libya (cf. Zanon 1922, Gridelli 1930, Zavattari 1934, in all cases as Rhizopertha dominica  , Champ 1986), Lithuania ( Ivinskis et al. 2009, as Rhizopertha dominica  ), Morocco ( Martínez de la Escalera 1914, Rungs 1946, Español 1956b, Kocher 1956, in all cases as Rhizopertha dominica  , Bartali et al. 1990, López-Colon 2000, as Rhizopertha dominica  , Benhalima et al. 2004), Nepal ( Taylor and Halliday 1986), Pakistan (cf. Quddus and Qayyum 1982, Ishaque et al. 1982, in both cases as Rhizopertha dominica  , Taylor and Halliday 1986, Sardar Alam et al. 1999, Anwar et al. 2005, in both cases as Rhizopertha dominica  , Wakil et al. 2006, Ahmed et al. 2008, as Rhizopertha dominica  , Wakil et al. 2013), Portugal ( Seabra 1943, as Rhizopertha dominica  , Nardi 2004b, Bahillo de la Puebla et al. 2007, Baena and Zuzarte 2013), Romania ( Ghizdavu and Deac 1995, Nardi 2004b), Saudi Arabia ( Damoiseau 1979, Amin et al. 1986, in both cases as Rhizopertha dominica  , Mostafa et al. 1981, Rostom 1993, Ahmed 1996), Switzerland ( Hoppe 1981, Buchi 1993, Kenis 2005, as Rhyzoperta  [sic!] dominica  , Denux and Zagatti 2010), Turkey ( Gerini 1971, Aydin and Soran 1987, Yucel 1988, Emekçi and Ferizli 2000), Ukraine ( Podobivskiĭ 1991) and Uzbekistan ( Asanov 1980).


Originally, this species was only associated with wood but is now considered as a primary pest of all kinds of stored grains. Both larvae and adults are able to attack whole grain, causing considerable damage. The species is thought to have originated from the Indian subcontinent, and was introduced worldwide by commerce. It is an economically important pest since it can cause significant economic losses in terms of grain mass and nutrient depletion, and pose a public health risk from contamination by allergens, such as uric acid (cf. Potter 1935, Beeson and Bhatia 1937, Lepesme 1944, in all cases as Rhyzopertha dominica  , Fisher 1950, Aitken 1975, Maes 1995, Pollini 1998, in both cases as Rhyzopertha dominica  , Geis 2002, Gelosi and Süss 2001, Nguyen 2006, Borowski 2007, Liu et al. 2008, Denux and Zagatti 2010, Kenis and Branco 2010, Arthur et al. 2012, Edde 2012). This species can also damage books ( Hoffman 1933, as Rhyzopertha dominica  ).


The record from Malta by Hyde and Daubney (1960) was later overlooked by all authors (cf. Saliba 1963, Nardi 2004b, Borowski 2007). Thus this beetle must have been introduced in Malta at least since 1958 where it is now a well established species.

In Italy, Rhyzopertha dominica  was first collected in Sicily during the nineteenth century (cf. Bertolini 1874, as Rhyzopertha pusilla  Fabr. [= (Fabricius, 1798)]; Ragusa 1896, as Rhyzopertha pusilla  ), and since the 1950's it was widespread in all regions (cf. Norato 1957, Dal Monte 1958, as Rhyzopertha dominica  , Genduso 1963). According to Denux and Zagatti (2010: 348) the first European record of this species was from Czech Republic and is dated 1900, but the above Sicilian records, as well as those from other countries (cf. Reitter 1883, as Rhyzopertha pusilla  , Lesne 1901b), are older. Moreover, this species has been present in Europe at least since 3500-2551 BP, as testified by its archelogical presence in Spain and Greece (cf. King 2009). So the species was introduced and established before 1492 A.D. at least in Spain and Greece and must be considered as parautocthonous (cf. Zapparoli 2008: 98). Illustrations of its male and female genitalia were provided by Potter (1935: 474-475, figs 21-25), Lesne (1945: 149, figs 9-13, as Rhyzopertha dominica  ) and Surtees (1961: 149, fig. 11, as Rhyzopertha dominica  ).

Rhizopertha dominica granulipennis  Lesne in Beeson & Bhatia, 1937 from northern India (Uttarakhand, Chandi Randge) ( Beeson and Bhatia 1937: 283, Lesne 1945: 146, as Rhyzopertha dominica granulipennis  ) was overlooked in recent catalogues (cf. Borowski 2007, Borowski and Węgrzynowicz 2007, Ivie 2010). In its original description - "A large form with exceptionally strongly developed granulation of the elytral declivity was bred from Shorea robusta  [( Dipterocarpaceae  )] and labelled Rhyzopertha dominica granulipennis  by Lesne" ( Beeson and Bhatia 1937: 283) - its rank is not unambiguously given, so, according to the Code (ICZN 1999, art. 45.6.4), it is an available subspecific name. Its authorship is here attributed to Lesne in Beeson and Bhatia (1937: 283), since Lesne (1945: 146) has reaffirmed the authorship of this name: “J’ai donné le nome de Rhyzopertha dominica granulipennis  (1 [= footnote: Cf. Beeson et Bhatia, mémoire cité, p. 283.]) à cette forme remarquable" [= I named Rhyzopertha dominica granulipennis  (1 [= footnote: Cf. Beeson et Bhatia, memory cited, p. 283.]) this remarkable form]. Unfortunately, it was not possible to study the type material of this taxon, that, according to Lesne (1945: 146), is housed in the Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle of Paris (France) and in the Forest Research Institute of Derha Dun (India). However, on the basis of numerous specimens of this species from different territories (Nardi, unpublished data) which show a significant range of variability in the granulation of the elytral declivity, the following new synonymy, is here established: Rhizopertha dominica form granulipennis  Lesne, in Beeson and Bhatia 1937: 283 = Rhyzopertha dominica  (Fabricius, 1792: 359), syn. n.