Giraffe Weevil Facts
- The giraffe weevil (Trachelophorus giraffa) is a form of beetle native to Madagascar, only recently discovered in 2008. The only other known giraffe weevil is found in New Zealand.
- The neck of the male giraffe weevil is typically 2 to 3 times longer than that of the female.
- The total body length of the males is just under an inch (2.5 cm).
- The body is black with a bright red shell called “elytra” that covers and protects the fragile flying wings underneath.
- They also have odd-looking pedipalps (like mandibles) on their heads.
- The adults spend most of their lives, and feed on, a tree which is known as the giraffe beetle tree (Dichaetanthera arborea). The giraffe weevil will rarely leave these trees.
The Giraffe Weevil Neck
- It is not difficult to figure out why this weevil is called a “giraffe weevil“.
- The giraffe weevil’s neck, as mentioned earlier, is 2 or 3 times longer than the female’s.
- It is used for fighting others males for the right to mate with a nearby female.
- The fight consists of pushing and wresting each other.
- It is very rare for a male to kill another in these fights.
- The giraffe weevil‘s long neck also assists in nest-building.
- After mating, the male giraffe weevil rolls a leaf from the host plant (the so-called giraffe beetle tree) into a tube-shape.
- The female then lays a single egg in the middle of the leaf tube and then rolls it up, protecting the egg.
- The female snips the leaf away from the tree. When the larvae hatches, the leaf will be the primary food source in the first few days of its life.
WATCH THE BBC VIDEO below, showing the courtship ritual of two males fighting, the mating, the laying of the egg, and the building of the leaf-nest. It’s really fascinating. Watch it until the end.
The giraffe weevil is rare, but it is not considered to be endangered or threatened by the human population or by predation from other species.