Hadramphus tuberculatus 

The Canterbury knobbled weevil (Hadramphus tuberculatus) has bumpy ridges on its back and a dark-brown body with greyish-brown scales. They have a long snout called a rostrum which gives them a comical look. Don’t let their drab colours and bulbous snout fool you, though! These weevils are very cute!

Many of our native insects are just as endangered as our native birds, but they’re easily overlooked because they’re so small and hard to see. This is the case for the Canterbury knobbled weevil whose resurrection story is like that of the takahē.

Around 150 years ago, Canterbury knobbled weevils were common throughout the Canterbury region. The weevils have a close relationship with the spikey native plant known as speargrass (Aciphylla). Unfortunately for the weevil, the prickly plants were unpopular with early settlers and were cleared to make way for farming. To make matters worse for the weevil, introduced predators like rats made easy meals out of flightless insects like this one. By 1922, the Canterbury knobbled weevil had disappeared from the land and was declared extinct.

In the early 2000s, a master’s student from Lincoln University found a bumpy little weevil when she was studying speargrass in South Canterbury. It turned out to be the extinct weevil come back from the dead! Now, the Canterbury knobbled weevil is holding on in just one tiny patch of Aciphylla and is critically endangered as numbers continue to decline.

Check these links for more info on the Knobbled Weevil in NZ

iNaturalist.nz: Observations of Hadramphus tuberculatus

Wikipedia: Information on Hadramphus tuberculatus

New Zealand Geographic: “Weevil Upheaval” by Steve Pawson, 2005

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iNaturalist.nz image © Warren Chinn
iNaturalist.nz image © Warren Chinn