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Common names

limexylid beetles, ship-timber beetles

General distribution


Component taxa

7 genera and ~50 species


Adult: Body generally parallel-sided, elongate, subcylindrical and variable from slightly to moderately convex. Size ranging from 5-40mm in length. Head short with apparent "neck" posterior to eyes. Antennae 11 segmented, short, not extending beyond posterior margin of prothorax, filiform to serrate and often sexually dimorphic within a species. Maxillary palpi of males (sometimes females) modified into complex organ. Procoxae conical, cylindrical and projecting. Elytra typically exposing at least part of the pygidium or the entire pygidium and preceding abdominal tergite, uncommonly entire and covering all of pygidium. Abdomen with 5-7 visible sternites.

Larva: Body elongate, cylindrical, moderately to heavily sclerotized, often pigmented, variable from yellowish to dark brown. Dorsal surface with fine sparse vestiture of simple setae and asperities. Size typically ranging from 12-20mm in length. Head large, hypognathous and retracted under large hood-like prothorax. Antennae small and 3 segments (may appear to be 2 segmented). Prothorax larger than either the meso- or metathorax. Legs short but well-developed. Nine abdominal segments with prominent lateral folds, tenth segment visible but located inferior to ninth segment. Ninth segment variably modified with teeth, spines, etc.

Pest information

Most taxa are fungivorous; wood boring activities occur primarily in the larval stage. Three genera have formerly been pestiferous, they include: Lymexylon, Hylecoetus, and Melittomma.


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