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Ship-timber beetles
Lymexylon navale.jpg
Lymexylon navale
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Coleoptera
Suborder: Polyphaga
Infraorder: Cucujiformia
Superfamily: Lymexyloidea
Family: Lymexylidae
Fleming, 1821

The Lymexylidae, or ship-timber beetles, are a family of wood-boring beetles, and the sole member of the superfamily Lymexyloidea.

They are 7 to 18 mm long. The larvae bore into living and decaying wood, where they eat the fungi that grow in their tunnels. Some species are pests, killing live trees and damaging timber structures such as houses and ships.

There are 37 species in 7 genera, including:

Reproduction in Hylecoetus dermestoides[edit]

Hylecoetus dermestoides lays eggs into boreholes of bark beetles on a fallen beech

This species has evolved a very interesting relationship with the yeast-like fungus, Endomyces hylecoeti. Every egg the female lays is coated with fungal spores from a pouch near her ovipositor. The larvae hatch and collect some of the spores by staying close to their egg shells for a while before tunnelling into the wood. The fungi grows on the walls of the tunnel the larvae make and it is this the young eat rather than the wood. The fungi requires a good flow of air, so the larvae keep their tunnel free of any debris.[1]


Lymexylidae contains the following genera:[2]

External links[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Piper, Ross (2007), Extraordinary Animals: An Encyclopedia of Curious and Unusual Animals, Greenwood Press.
  2. ^ Lymexylidae Species List at Joel Hallan’s Biology Catalog. Texas A&M University. Retrieved on 17 May 2012.