Thursday, 6 March 2014

Giraffe Weevil (Trachelophorus giraffa)

image showing a Giraffe weevil
Giraffe weevil
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Family: Attelabidae
Genus: Trachelophorus
Species: Trachelophorus giraffa
Conservation Status: Not assessed
Common Name: Giraffe weevil, leaf-rolling weevils (used for all Attelabidae species)

The giraffe weevil is a weevil species endemic to the forests of Madagascar. It was discovered in 2008, hence little is known about it. As you have probably guessed, its named this way due to having an extended neck, much like giraffes do.

Giraffe weevil Description
The giraffe weevil is sexually dimorphic, meaning that there is a great phenotypic difference between males and females of the same species. Specifically, males have a neck that is 2 to 3 times longer than their female counterparts. The extended neck is an adaptation that is used for intraspecific combat and nest building.

Males have a length of almost an inch (2.5 cm), making them one of the longest Attelabidae species.

Most of their body is black, except for their distinctive red elytra that cover their wings. The species is capable of flight.

Giraffe weevil Diet
They are herbivore insects, with adults feeding on a tree that is commonly known as the "giraffe beetle tree"
(Dichaetanthera arborea). They spend most of their lives on these small trees, venturing far from them only on rare occasions.

They are peaceful insects, showing no aggression towards other species.

Video showing a Giraffe Weevil

Giraffe weevil Reproduction
Males use their long necks to fight with other males to win the right to mate with a nearby female. They use them as a weapon to push and wrestle with the opponent.

The winner then mates with the female. The female then secures a leaf - from Dichaetanthera arborea - and uses it to build a cigar-like nest. To do so, she will fold and curl it multiple times. Then, she lays a single egg inside the leaf. Finally, she snips the leaf  from the plant, which falls to the forest floor. The leaf will provides sustenance to the newly-hatched larvae during its first days of life.

This leaf-rolling behaviour is not unique to the giraffe weevil, its something all Attelabidae species do and this is why they are commonly known as the leaf-rolling weevils.

It is rare for males to kill each other during courtship. Most of the times, the loser simply retreats.

Video showing the reproduction habits of the Giraffe Weevil 

Conservation Status
Due to its recent discovery, the species conservation status has yet to be assessed. However, their population is believed  to be healthy and not threatened by human activity.

They have no known predators, although it is suspected that the eggs may be occasionally eaten by smaller bugs.

Giraffe weevil Interesting Facts
- Despite their somewhat frightening appearance, they are not dangerous to humans. They don't bite or sting
- Lasiorynchus barbicornis is an unrelated species from New Zealand that is also called Giraffe weevil

Image of Lasiorynchus barbicornis
The unrelated Lasiorynchus barbicornis
References & Further Reading
- Legalov, A. A. (2004). New data of the leaf-rolling weevils (Coleoptera: Rhynchitidae, Attelabidae) of the world fauna with description of 35 new taxons. Baltic Journal of Coleopterology
- Kobayashi, C., Okuyama, Y., Kawazoe, K., & Kato, M. (2012). The evolutionary history of maternal plant-manipulation and larval feeding behaviours in attelabid weevils (Coleoptera; Curculionoidea) Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 64 (2), 318-330 DOI: 10.1016/j.ympev.2012.04.006
- Giraffe Weevil Youtube Search


  1. anyone knows if they are poisonous? do they bite?

    1. It said under the interesting facts that they do not bite or sting and are in no way a threat to humans