Giraffe Weevil

Scientific Name: Trachelophorus giraffa

Our July Bug of the Month, the giraffe weevil, holds its head up high in the face of adversity – because it doesn’t really have a choice. Truly eye-catching and combative when necessary, let’s get to know this long-necked insect.

Appearance
Given its name, you can imagine what the giraffe weevil looks like. Native to Madagascar, this strange insect was discovered in 2008 and looks like a miniature giraffe with a long, protruding neck extending from a black and red body. They can grow up to 2.5 centimeters in length with male necks being 2 -3 times longer than the necks of females. This adaptation is beneficial because males use their lengthy necks in battles with other suitors vying to mate with female weevils. By swinging their necks against each other the same way giraffes do, they attempt to knock their opponent away so they can mate without being bothered and as a display of strength to the female.

If the necks weren’t noticeable enough to pick the giraffe weevil out of a crowd, it also has a bright red cover on its back called the elytra that shields its wings. Even with such a weirdly-shaped body, it’s also still able to fly with no trouble.

Diet
Like their tall, spotted namesake, giraffe weevils are herbivores and feed on the leaves of the trees they inhabit. They particularly enjoy Dichaetanthera arborea, also known as the giraffe beetle tree and will rarely stray far from their home and food source.

Roll Out
Although their necks are shorter in comparison, female giraffe weevils use them in the reproductive process. After the show of strength between the males and mating occurs, the female will find a leaf and lay a single egg on it. To keep her progeny safe from the elements, they use their mouth and necks to chew and bend the leaf. They’ll do this multiple times to envelop the egg for safety like a leaf burrito. Males will assist in this folding process and once complete, the female cuts the leaf cocoon from the tree allowing it to fall to the forest floor. The leaf enclosure not only provides protection, but it also serves as a food source for the larva after it hatches.

Sources:
“Giraffe Weevil” BBC Nature


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