Sunday, February 27, 2011

Lasiorhynchus barbicornis, the Giraffe Weevil

The Cotton, it is mine, all mine!
I'm not sure where in my ramblings that I came across this critter, but I couldn't hep but write something up on it. I live in an area that grows large amounts of cotton.  As a side effect of its mass distribution across our country, there has been an increase in Cotton Weevils. Interesting enough, when the local god fearing farmer's profits were threatened by this pest, they turned to scientists. Since having someone who actually knows what they are doing tends to help, it is one areas where religious individuals don't mind budding up with those scary evolutionary biologists. The program enacted in Oklahoma has effectively eradicated the Cotton Boll Weevil from many eastern counties and is categorized as a suppressed species statewide.

Potential hypocrisy in farmers aside, I recently came across a species of weevil that would give most of them a heart attack (the ones who are not done in by the local cuisine of 'chicken fried steak', and yes, they serve that in schools, fear for our future).

He's a god you know, not that he's pretentious just the Maori realized this little Coleopteran was quite the same shape as a newly made canoe, known as a Waka, so this little guy got deified.   

But anyway, back to the subject at hand, New Zealand, far to often it is overlooked in lieu of their local island/continent neighbor, Australia, but don't ask me to take sides, there are enough odd animals for the two of you to divvy up amongst yourselves.

Female Giraffe Weevil
Anyway, the species Lasiorhynchus barbicornis is one of many weevil species on the Islands. But the Giraffe Weevil, as it is commonly called, is not exactly your ordinary weevil. It is the longest beetle on the islands at 80 mm and the longest weevil species. They also poses a high level of sexual dimorphism. While the antennae of the male are at the end of its snout, they are half-way up the snout of the female. She also lacks the overt protrusion that is found in the males. Instead, her smaller and thicker proboscis is used to drill through the dried wood of Karaka, Houhere, and Pigeonwood where she will be able to lay her eggs, which after hatching will be able to drill further still into the wood.  Most of their lives will be in larval format, in fact once they make the conversion over to adult, an individual generally has around two weeks to take in the wide world, eat, reproduce and emasculate any overly self-conscious males nearby. 
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