Reader asks: Can you identify this awfully ugly bug?
Mar 2021

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This little bugger is not what it seems to be.

Santa van Niekerk from George asks:

My sister encountered this awfully ugly bug in the Kalahari last weekend (Shame, I’m glad bugs can’t see themselves!)

It’s as big as a toktokkie. Do you have any idea what this might be?

I googled but closest I find is a type of ground katydid (koringkriek) but all the crickets have long feelers (or so it seems) and this little animal has no feelers.

The image of the strange “bug”.

Twee toktokkies. Foto: Dave Pepler

‘n Koringkriek (ground katydid). Photo: Dave Pepler

Dave answers:

Your toktokkie-like creature is actually a magnificent weevil from the Genus Brachycerus and most weevils are recognized by their long snouts.

There are countless species on earth with a total number exceeding 97 000.

Many of them are considered agricultural pests, since they are exclusive herbivores (plant eaters).

Most of them drill holes into hard seeds, and then deposit the eggs, after which the hole is sealed.

Around the world they are serious pests of wheat, beans, rice and maize, but this one is not considered a pest.

Some can be very colorful and attractive, such as the Lilly Weevil, but most are dull and matte in appearance.

A Brachycerus ornatus from South-Western Africa. Photo: WikiMedia Commons

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