|Image Frank Vassen|
There are more than 60,000 species of Weevil in the world, the most famous ones being those who use their long snout to bore into plants or dry foods like nuts and flour. Some of them are significant competitors for various fruits, vegetables and grains we like to eat. But they're far too small for us to take them seriously as competition so we just call them pests.
Leaf-rolling Weevils are a little different from most other Weevils. Not only do a lot of them lack a long, thin snout but, as if they simply refuse to do without having SOMETHING ridiculously long and thin, they have a long, thin neck instead.
|Image: Frank Vassen|
The male Giraffe Weevil, that is. The female's neck is modest in comparison, probably because she has some actual work to do. Leaf-rolling Weevils didn't get their name for nothing!
Madagascar is full of charming, bright-eyed creatures who would just love to feast upon the supple flesh of mother Weevil's growing larvae. As you might imagine, she's opposed to this. Unfortunately cotton wool and bubble wrap are rare in the rainforest, so she wraps her children in a huge leaf instead.
It's long, arduous work for the female Giraffe Weevil. She has to cut lots of slits all the way down the leaf's central vein and then use her legs to fold the whole thing in half. Next, she rolls the entire thing up into a tight cylinder, using yet more bites to keep it from unrolling. Then she tucks the sides in so it's all safe and secure. After several hours of this lonesome engineering, she'll lay a single egg in the centre of the elaborate structure.
Not to be outdone, the male Giraffe Weevil's neck is 2 or 3 times longer than the female's.
|Image: Nicky Rakoto|
It's also the kind of madness a gentleman can get away with when he doesn't have to work for a living. A gentleman must fight, though! The ladies won't go along with any old schmuck, they must prove their worth through the ancient art of fisticuffs.
Video: Nicolas Rodriguez
Presumably they use savage blows of the neck, not unlike actual giraffes, only tinier and less painful to watch. It's brutal and barbaric necking all the way, as the female Giraffe Weevil stands nearby watching and encouraging.
"Hit him!" she screams.
"Bash him in proper!" she shrieks.
"If you really loved me you'd show him what for and no mistake!" she squeals.
She doesn't say it to any particular one of the rivals, it's just general encouragement to anyone who happens to be fighting at the time.
|Image: Ralph Kränzlein|
Soon enough, an egg is laid and a grub is born. It grows up quite ignorant of the drama that led to its birth, as it lounges mollycoddled in layer after layer of thickly coiled leaf. But it can't last. Soon our innocent milksop must pupate and emerge into the adult world of violence and romance, doomed as it is to the eternal repetition of life's unflinching wheel.
They get some sweet neck out of it, though. It's all swings and roundabouts!
Thanks to @dieKali for suggesting this one! Great, big, long-necked thanks!