19 December 2014

Hoherius meinertzhageni

Here's another example of one of the world's wonders that most people will never see. These tiny beetles, only about the size of a match head, live only in New Zealand and only on plants in the mallow family — mostly lacebarks and ribbonwoods (as far as I know, but we know so little about them that any surprises won't be surprising). The colours and textures often camouflage them well and are strikingly beautiful as well, but it's the male's huge and bizarrely flattened head that might be one of their most fascinating characteristics. In this profile photograph (the only one I managed) you can get some impression of the the size (yes, those are his jaws nibbling on the twig) but to appreciate the true strangeness you need to see him head on. I'll see if I can find some more and get some better photographs.

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