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

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Lymexylidae

Overview

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).

Description

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.

Distribution

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.

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