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Biological Control : A Guide to Natural Enemies in North America Anthony Shelton, Ph.D., Professor of Entomology, Cornell University

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Gymnetron linariae Panzer
(Coleoptera: Curculionidae)

by Rich Hansen, USDA-APHIS-PPQ, Forestry Sciences Lab, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT 59717-0278.

Gymnetron linariae was approved for release in the US in 1995. Several releases have been made in western Canada and the US; small populations may be established in Canada, but no confirmed establishment has yet been reported in the US. (Background information about Dalmation toadflax and yellow toadflax is available.)


Gymnetron linariae adults are small, black, oval weevils about 2 mm long, with a noticeable snout. They may be found feeding on toadflax shoots.

Larvae are small, legless, and C-shaped when viewed laterally; presumably, they are creamy-white in color with a yellowish head capsule as are larvae of other Gymnetron spp. Larvae are found within galls on toadflax roots.


Grasslands, pastures, agricultural fields, and roadsides infested with yellow or Dalmatian toadflax.

Pests attacked

Gymnetron linariae attacks both Dalmatian and yellow toadflax. Based on host specificity tests, only a few Eurasian Linaria spp. are suitable hosts for this weevil.

Life cycle

Gymnetron linariae adults appear in late spring, and apparently live for up to several months. After several weeks of feeding on young toadflax shoots, adults mate and females begin laying eggs in toadflax roots. Eggs are deposited singly into small pockets chewed into the root tissue by the female weevil and covered with excrement. Most eggs are laid in the root crown area, within several inches of the soil surface.

In response to female oviposition and, perhaps, larval feeding, round or oval galls are formed on toadflax roots within which G. linariae larvae feed and develop. Up to 200 galls may be found on a single toadflax plant; individual galls may fuse to form "gall masses" consisting of 40 or more galls. Larval development consists of three stages and takes two or three months.

Pupation occurs within galls in late summer. Some newly-eclosed adults may remain within galls and enter diapause, while others may emerge and feed on toadflax shoots for a week or two before returning to the soil to overwinter.

There is one generation per year.

Relative effectiveness

The potential impact of Gymnetron linariae on toadflax plants is not yet known. Presumably, root galls will reduce plant vigor by acting as a nutrient "sink," as has been suggested for other plant-galling insects.

Pesticide susceptibility



Specifics are unknown. For general information about conservation of natural enemies, see Conservation in the Tutorial section on this site, Feature Article on conservation in Volume II, No. 1 of Midwest Biological Control News.

Commercial availability

Gymnetron linariae is not yet generally available.


Jordan, K. 1994. Gymnetron linariae. Panzer (Col., Curculionidae), a candidate for biological control of Dalmatian and yellow toadflax in North America. Intl. Inst. of Biol. Control European Station Final Report. 37 pp.

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Gymnetron linariae adult.  C. Paetel, CABI Biosciences

Dalmatian toadflax infestation: W.Hartung, NRCS; and plant (inset): R.Hansen, USDA-APHIS

Bottom: G. linariae root galls on toadflax plant. C. Paetel, CABI Biosciences

Top: Gymnetron linariae adult.
Photo: C. Paetel, CABI Biosciences

Middle: Dalmatian toadflax infestation:
W.Hartung, NRCS; and plant (inset):

Bottom: G. linariae root galls on toadflax plant.
Photo: C. Paetel, CABI Biosciences

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