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biodiversity explorer

the web of life in southern Africa

Family: Lymexylidae (ship-timber beetles)

Life > Eukaryotes > Opisthokonta > Metazoa (animals) > Bilateria > Ecdysozoa > Panarthropoda > Tritocerebra > Arthopoda > Mandibulata > Atelocerata > Panhexapoda > Hexapoda > Insecta (insects) > Dicondyla > Pterygota > Metapterygota > Neoptera > Eumetabola > Holometabola > Coleoptera (beetles) > Polyphaga > Superfamily: Lymexyloidea

A large (15-45mm) narrow-bodied beetle. The most common Atractocerus could be mistaken for flying ants such as Dorylinae, or dragonflies. On closer inspection it can be seen that the wings that are visible are the hind wings and the elytra (wing covers) are very reduced, exposing the entire abdomen. Melitomma is more beetle-like and the elytra cover all except last 2 abdominal segments. The eyes occupy a large portion of the head, almost meeting on the face.

Adults are attracted to light at night and larvae bore into hard wood and palm stems.

Atractocerus brevicornis


Atractocerus brevicornis, 15-45mm. [image by M. Picker & C. Griffiths , from Field Guide to Insects of South Africa, used with permission].


Page by Margie Cochrane