About this tool

What is Wood Boring Beetle Families?

Wood Boring Beetle Families delimits family-level taxa (both adults and larvae) of Coleoptera known to be wood borers.

Tool components

Wood Boring Beetle Families consists of a Lucid version 3.4 interactive identification key, which is a Java applet embedded in an HTML page, along with many associated images and HTML pages. The tool home page contains a link to open the interactive key and links to background and informational pages. The navigation bar at the top of all HTML pages (other than Home) provides links to the Fact sheet index, Glossary, References, and back to the Home page. The References provided are the literature sources used in developing the Wood Boring Beetle Families and do not constitute, nor are they intended to be, a complete bibliographic or summary account of the known literature for any of the families in the tool.

How to use this tool

How-to-use information is available for the Wood Boring Beetle Families.

Taxonomic scope

Coleopterists currently recognize nine families of true wood boring beetles (i.e., not just living on or within wood, but rather those actually boring into sound wood).  Many beetle families are known to be associated with wood in varying stages of decay, while others may live in subcortical habitats.  However, this tool is designed solely to aid in the identification of those beetles that are known to bore into and develop within sound wood; these families include: Anobiidae sensu stricto, Anobiidae (Ptininae), Bostrichidae, Brentidae, Buprestidae, Cerambycidae, Curculionidae (including Scolytinae and Platypodinae), Lymexylidae, Oedemeridae, and Zopheridae. Of these families, Buprestidae, Cerambycidae, and Curculionidae contain the majority of wood boring beetle species diversity. The family Oedemeridae contains only a single wood boring species, whereas Buprestidae and Cerambycidae contain thousands such species.  The scoring of the families in the key presented herein are based on characters for each entire family, not just taxa within each family known to be wood borers.  This approach was taken such that any member of a family not now known to be a wood borer may still be identified based on this tool.

Who can use this tool?

Wood Boring Beetle Families is designed to be used by United States quarantine officials responsible for inspecting imports, and by federal, state and local domestic survey and identification personnel. Its worldwide scope allows it to be used by quarantine officials in other countries, as well as members of academia and the general public.


Key player modified February 2018
Content last modified: February 4, 2011