The giraffe weevil, a type of beetle indigenous to Madagascar, is so called because of its distended neck that rises up above its carapace. The long neck above a sloped body is reminiscent of the African giraffe. Giraffe weevils are a deep black in color with bright red wing coverings. The giraffe weevil, like all weevils, is a form of beetle.
Male Giraffe Weevils Have Longer Necks
The male giraffe weevil's neck can be up to three times as long as his female's counterpart. The length of the beetle's neck is used primarily for nest building and fighting with other male giraffe weevils. Fighting between giraffe weevils is typically done during the mating season, where the male weevils attempt to impress the females by defeating other weevils. The neck itself is used as a weapon to push and wrestle with the opponent; it is rare that one of the opponents will die in the course of a fight.
Giraffe Weevils Live in Giraffe Beetle Trees
The anecdotal "giraffe beetle tree," known by its scientific name Dichaetanthera arborea, is found only in Madagascar. It provides both home and diet for the giraffe weevil. In addition to eating the leaves of this tree, the giraffe weevil also nests in it. While the male giraffe weevil rolls a leaf in a cigar shape, the female giraffe weevil deposits a single egg in the middle. When the larvae hatches, the leaf will provide sustenance in the first few days of life.
Giraffe Weevils Are Endemic to Madagascar
While giraffe weevils are indigenous to Madagascar, they are also endemic, meaning they can be found only in one location. Madagascar is an island in the Indian Ocean, directly southeast from the eastern African coast. Because it's home to many unique animals and invertebrates such as the giraffe beetle, it is a biodiversity hotspot. Despite its rarity, the giraffe weevil is not considered to be endangered or threatened by the human population or by predation from other species.
Giraffe Weevils Can Fly
The bright red shell that covers the back of the giraffe weevil is called the elytra. It is a form of hardened forewing, although it is not formally a wing. The elytra forms a casing to protect the fragile hind wings that lay underneath, which are used for flying. To fly, the giraffe weevil, like any other flying beetle, will hold open the scarlet elytra as it lifts and then rotates its hindwings, which are made of a membranous material.