Rare weevil in danger of being nobbled
Most of us have heard about the ka¯ka¯po¯, takahe¯ or the Ma¯ui dolphin. But what about the knobbled weevil, kettlehole cudweed (a plant) or New Zealand batfly?
All are all rated as ‘‘nationally critical’’ on the New Zealand threatened species list, as they are at the greatest risk of extinction.
New Zealand has one of the highest levels of threat for native species in the world.
The Canterbury knobbled weevil is a rare, 15mm-long flightless weevil with a knobbed back.
It is endemic to the Burkes Pass, Canterbury area, where it depends on a very specific plant called golden speargrass ( Aciphylla aurea) for its food and shelter.
Our flora and fauna is ancient and unique – we have flightless birds, frogs without tadpoles, bats that crawl on the ground, penguins that live in forests, and trees from the age of the dinosaurs. We also have giant invertebrates and fish that can live out of water.
Mammals have had an impact on our native species, which evolved without predators, so had no defence. They still don’t.
It is not only mammals that threaten our unique species. Invasive weeds threaten about a third of our native species, directly, or by changing their habitats.
As Kiwi conservation legend Don Merton (1939 –2011) wrote: ‘‘We don’t have ancient architecture that we can be proud of and swoon over in wonder, but what we do have is something that is far, far older than that. No one else has kiwi, no one else has ka¯ka¯po¯.
‘‘They have been around for millions of years, if not thousands of millions of years. And once they are gone, they are gone forever. And it’s up to us to make sure they never die out.’’
When a beetle, an orchid or a bird disappears forever, it does matter.
To learn more, come to the Forest and Bird Manawatu monthly talk to be given by Nicola Toki, Threatened Species Ambassador,for the Department of Conservation at the Globe Theatre on October 10, at 7.30pm.
The threatened Canterbury knobbled weevil (Hadramphus tuberculatus).