What Bug Is That? The guide to Australian insect families.

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Lymexylid larvae bore into hard wood of weakened or dead trees and feed on ambrosia fungi of the genus Ascoidea (Ascomycetes: Endomycetales), which grows on their tunnel walls. Adult females carry the fungal spores in pouches near the end of the ovipositor and deposit them in a slimy matrix with the eggs. The 1st instar larvae then transport the spores into the wood on their bodies (Francke-Grosmann 1967).


Very long and narrow, finely pubescent beetles with well-developed eyes, sometimes very large and dorsally contiguous. Legs long with projecting coxae; metepisterna meeting at midline; elytra rounded apically and exposing abdominal apex or ( Atractocerus ) most of abdomen and hind wings, which lack transverse folds. A branched sensory organ arises from the 3rd maxillary palp segment in males of Melittomma and males and females of Atractocerus .

Larvae very long, narrow and cylindrical, with globular head, very short antennae, enlarged and dorsally humped prothorax, and terminal T9, which forms lightly sclerotised, rounded and asperate protuberance ( Atractocerus ) or heavily sclerotised, concave plate lined with teeth.


In Australia lymexylids damage commercial timber because of the darkly stained 'pinholes' they form within the wood. In addition to Atractocerus and Melittomma , which are distributed throughout the tropical regions of the world, the Australian fauna includes the endemic genus Australymexylon . [Clark 1925; Wheeler 1986.]

  • Australmexylon sp.