T.E.R:R.A.I.N - Taranaki Educational Resource: Research, Analysis and Information Network


Weevil (Elephant) Rhynchodes ursus

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Hexapoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Superfamily: Curculionoidea
Family: Curculionidae
Genus: Rhynchodes
Species: R. ursus
Binomial name: Rhynchodes ursus
Common name: Elephant weevil

Rhynchodes ursus is endemic species of wood-boring weevil found all over the country. It is a flying, stout, long-snouted, furry-looking beetle, with thick elytra (wing case) of a brown colour. The adults feed on exuded tree sap from the following trees, Agathis australis, Beilschmiedia tarairi, Dacrydium cupressinum, Dracophyllum longifolium, Dracophyllum traversii, Nothofagus solandri.
Their larvae make tunnels in the branches and trunks of the trees listed above.

Rhynchodes ursus is the host of Certonotus fractinervis which is New Zealand's largest native parasitic wasp. The female has an extremely long ovipositor (the three long threads). This bores holes into tree trunks to lay eggs in the larvae of elephant weevils, which make tunnels in native trees.

A Rhynchodes ursus climbing up a Dacrydium cupressinum.