Animal contests can range from choreographed and elaborate displays, to deadly physical combat between rivals. The adaptations animals have evolved to succeed in these contests are just as varied with some relying on visual signals that indicate their quality, such as bright colour patches, whilst others use elaborate weapons to attack their opponents. The New Zealand giraffe weevil (Lasiorhynchus barbicornis) has certainly developed a unique battle weapon in the form of a very long slender rostrum. It’s elongated head has earned this species the title of worlds longest weevil and was the subject of researcher Chrissie Painting’s PhD thesis.
Listen to the interview with Dr Chrissie Painting here…
She established herself in the field of Behavioural Ecology by studying how male giraffe weevils compete for access to females, and has since gone on to study signalling and mimicry in jumping spiders, and weaponry in harvestmen. She is now a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Auckland and still insists on avoiding puns in paper titles.
Check out Chrissie Painting’s blog at www.chrissiepainting.com or follow her on twitter @cpaintingnz