; class Insecta, order Coleoptera)
Family of small, pubescent, brown beetles, 2–7 mm long, in which the head is hooded by the pronotum. The antennae have the last three segments elongate. Larvae are white, fleshy, and C-shaped; they have tiny legs. They bore into the wood and bark of dead trees. Larvae of Anobium punctatum (woodworm) attack furniture and structural timbers; distinctive holes are caused by the emergence of adults. Xestobium rufovillosum (death-watch beetle) bores into structural timbers. Adults make a ‘ticking’ noise, by tapping the head against wood as a signal to the mate; this is sometimes heard by those keeping vigil with the dying and so is thought to presage death. There are 1100 species.
Subjects: Zoology and Animal Sciences.