Now I know the family of the weird insect

Somebody sent me a link to this – looks very much like the insect we had on our balcony door in Berlin, Germany; only this one is an African critter. (see last blog entry)

So here is the Hose-nose Cycad weevil

Hose-nose Cycad weevil
Hose-nose Cycad weevil

Photo Copyright:
Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 838 W: 0 N: 967] (2991)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 20080224
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Digital ISO 200
Exposure: f/3.2, 1/60 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Insects and Spiders of Southern Africa, RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 3, Insects around the world, Weevils [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 20080302 8:32
Viewed: 1428
Favorites: 1 [view]

Hose-nose Cycad Weevil / Antliarhis zamiae

It is is the first photo of this species on TN. This specimen’s body was only 6mm long and is lying on a cycad leave that is 15mm wide. I could not find many photos of this weevil on the Internet and I was not
very impressed with most of what I found on the net as a whole. It seems like the female form of these weevils could live up to the believe that some woman like to poke there long noses where it does not belong. Ha-ha.

Throughout the years Loot has worked hard to turn our garden into a lush landscape filled with many palms and cycads. All the different species of cycads creates a spectacular scenery and a delightful view. Now ask me anything about these plants and I’ll have to play the dumb blonde role. To me a cycad is a cycad and
that is it. Ask Loot, and it will sound as if he is giving Greek lessons the way he spits out the different names, and everything else associated with that particular plant. He is really an “Einstein” when it comes to the inside knowledge of plants like orchids, palms and cycads.

It is now the time in season when the cycads make cones, and drop literally hundreds of seeds. I asked our garden help to pick up the seeds, to keep it for later use. He put it in a bag and forgot them on the veranda where I discovered them the next morning while having my daily stroll around the house looking for  something to photograph. Luckily I had the camera with me. I have heard of these weevils before, but this was the first time that I can remember that I saw them so closely. I was truly amazed and stunningly surprised at the perfect and also interesting detail of this insect, especially the females with their long hoses. See the workshop for a sample of male weevils.

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Class: Insecta (insects)
Subclass: Pterygota (winged insects)
Order: Coleoptera (beetles)
Suborder: Polyphaga (water, rove, scarab, longhorn, leaf, & snout beetles)
Superfamily: Curculionoidea (snout and bark beetles)
Family: Brentidae (straight-snouted primitive weevils)

Small to medium (body length 4-20mm), parallel-sided and elongate beetles, with narrow body, more or less elongate snout on head, and swollen femora. Antennae are bead-like and never clubbed.

Genus: Antliarhis
Species: zamiae

Small (body length 9mm, excluding snout) shiny brown and flattened. Females have extraordinary long thin snout (up to 3 times as long as body) with mandiblesat the tip; snout much shorter in males. Elytra with longitudinal grooves.

Females drill holes with their mandibles through cycad cone-scales to reach the seeds, in which they lay batches of eggs. Larvae feed on and hollow out the inside of the seed, within which they pupate.

Associated with Encephalartos cycads, usually on cones.

Related species
Antliarhis signatus is similar but smaller, females with a shorter snout.

Taken from the book: Field Guide to Insects of South Africa – Picker, Griffiths, & Weaving. Published by Struik Publishers.

It is probably well known to most cycad growers in South Africa that quite a number of weevils inhabit the cones of Encephalartos and other cycads in the world.

Weevils represent the largest and evolutionarily most advanced group of beetles. Their evolutionary success is largely due to their endophytic habits, i.e. their larvae generally develop inside plant tissues, where they are relatively safe from predators, parasites and adverse climatic conditions. The most conspicuous structural adaptation of weevils related to this habit is the development of an elongated snout or rostrum, particularly in the female, as it is with this organ that she drills a fine hole into the plant tissue to insert her ovipositor for laying eggs.  …..more

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