Monday, 28 October 2013

The Irresistible Force is An Immoveable Object!

Leptopius malefictus (Lea)

This weevil spent the better part of a day perched on a balcony rail. It was the constant source of attention to passing Green Tree Ants (Oecophylla smaragdina).
Something conveyed to the ants that this was a potential food item, but try as they might, they could not budge the weevil nor gain entry to any of its soft bits.

We have dealt with this before in this blog with pesty Orchid Weevils unable to be overcome by interested jumping spiders. Anyone who has tried to pin a weevil for an insect collection will be aware at just how hard the integument is. Inserting a pin into some of the larger species is almost impossible. This toughness seems to afford protection from small predators.
One might expect the head to have some soft bits where the ants could gain a purchase but no. Even the antennae were rigid and tough. It seems the only soft parts exposed by the weevil are the tarsi. These were completely ignored by the ants.

The weevil remained in its "staid" position all day but was gone overnight. The ants are primarily diurnal in their activities!


Camera Trap Codger said...

How about developing a tiny Dremel style drill that can penetrate weevil elytra so you can pin them with ease. This could be a big money maker. LOL

Mr. Smiley said...

A good idea but it would definitely be a limited market!
I have heard of a small drill being used for tough beetles