Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Beetles of Mauritius: Syzygops vinsoni

A Scratchpad to promote the study of the beetles of Mauritius has been set up by Edward Baker. It's a reasonable site, with a number of photos of what look like heritage specimens. It's always good having more sites disseminating more information, particularly of interesting islands like Mauritius. However, I do always find Scratchpads to be fairly clunky and hard to get around and unfortunately this site continues that trend.

As mentioned before though, there are some pretty neat photos including the species pictured here which has the very cool name Syzygops vinsoni. The genus Syzygops is restricted to Mauritius and the nearby island of Réunion and is part of a group (the Ottistrini) that is otherwise found in Australia, New Guinea and the Pacific. These weevils have their eyes situated right on top of the head, and are so narrowly separated that they might as well be joined together. You can see them in this photo if you look carefully---the black things in the middle of its head. These weevils are also very sexually dimorphic. This specimen is a male as evidenced by the very boxy back-end of the creature. Females have the apex of the elytra more rounded and normal-looking. The adults are found commonly on tree ferns throughout the hot season (November-April), but unfortunately the larvae are currently unknown.

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