The palm weevil Rhynchophorus ferrugineus is one of two species of
Originally from tropical Asia, the red palm weevil has spread to Africa and Europe, reaching the Mediterranean in the 1980s. It was first recorded in Spain in 1994, and in France in 2006. Additional infestations have been located in Malta, Italy (Tuscany, Sicily, Campania, Sardinia, Lazio, Marche, Puglia and Liguria), Croatia and Montenegro. It is also well established throughout most of Portugal, especially in the South. It also has established in Morocco, Tunisia, and other North African countries. The weevil was first reported in the Americas on
Larvae of Rhynchophorus ferrugineus are considered a delicacy in South East Asia cuisine. In some regions, however, larvae farming is strictly prohibited to prevent the potential devastation of plantation crops..
Primarily due to the existence of numerous color forms across their ranges, the taxonomy and classification of red palm weevils has undergone a number of changes in understanding and circumscription. As such, the information in the literature should be viewed as a compilation of data which may apply to both species, depending primarily upon the biogeography; accordingly, the vast majority of publications presumably do refer to R. ferrugineus rather than vulneratus, as the former is by far the most widely invasive. The most recent genus-level revision in 1966 recognized two species of red palm weevil, ferrugineus and vulneratus, and for decades these were interpreted as separate taxa. A genetic study in 2004 concluded that vulneratus was not distinct from ferrugineus, and treated them as synonyms, a view that was accepted until 2013, when yet another genetic study came to the opposite conclusion, based on more comprehensive geographic sampling. Accordingly, the "red palm weevil" species that appeared in the US was vulneratus rather than ferrugineus, though the latter is the invading species in all of the other global introductions.