Tymbopiptus valeas Kuschel

Giant Waitomo Weevil (Tymbopiptus valeas)

The Giant Waitomo Weevil was described in 1987, it is one of the first New Zealand insects to have been described based on subfossil remains.

The remains were recovered from deposits of at least two localities in the Waitomo District in the west of the North Island of New Zealand, one of them being the Buried Forest of Pureora, a site that was formed by pumice ejected during an eruption of Taupo crater at around 186 AD..

The Giant Waitomo Weevil was a very large species, it reached a length of up to 2 to 2,3 cm and was 0,75 to 0,92 cm wide. [1]


Many of the larger beetle species dissapeared from the New Zealand main islands as soon as the first Polynesian people arrived here and brought with them Polynesian Rats (Rattus exulans (Peale)), which predated on these large insects; some of the species were widespread and thus survived on rat-free offshore islands while others, that were restricted to certain parts of the main islands, just went extinct.



[1] G. Kuschel: The subfamily Molytinae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae): general notes and descriptions of new taxa from New Zealand and Chile. New Zealand Entomologist 9: 11-29. 1987
[2] Corinne H. Watts; Maureen J. Marra; Chris J. green; Lynette A. Hunt; Danny Thornburrow: Comparing fossil and extant beetles in central North Island forests, New Zealand. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 49(1): 1-20. 2019


Photo: Landcare Research New Zealand Ltd



edited: 05.11.2020