Subject: Bug
Location: guinea west africa
December 19, 2012 4:24 pm
this bug is 6.5 cm, black and resembles bug on the website sidebar. Short antennae.
Signature: Codfish Joe

Possibly Ship-Timber Beetle

Hi Codfish Joe,
This is not an Earwig, but it does remind us of a very unusual beetle we have in our archive, the Ship-Timber Beetle.  We have a representative that was photographed in Costa Rica and it has been identified as being in the family Lymexylidae and the genus
Atractocerus.  We will need to do additional research to see if the Ship-Timber Beetles are known to be found in Africa.  This posting from Beetles in the Bush makes our identification likely correct.  According to Beetles in the Bush:  “Atractocerus species are rarely encountered and therefore, not well studied. Their evolutionary history is still unknown; however, the oldest known lymexylid fossil is a very primitive member of the genus Atractocerus preserved in 100 myo Burmese amber (Grimwold & Engel 2005). Thus, the lineage containing these beetles had already appeared by the mid-Cretaceous and may have originated as early as the Jurassic, a fact that has earned them the moniker “living fossils.” These beetles were once thought to be among the most primitive of all Coleoptera – their simple wing venation, almost undifferentiated antennae and tarsi, and naked abdomen being likened to a supposed neuropteran common ancestor. ”

Possibly Ship-Timber Beetle

Thank you so much for responding so quickly. I am Codfish Joe’s mom, and I want to tell you what a blessing you have been to him with your website. We live in Guinea, Africa, and see many interesting wildlife here (mostly bugs!). He is very much a nature lover, and it enriches his day when he can identify one of God’s creatures that he has discovered. I did manage to find that the Ship Timber Beetle lives in SOUTH Africa, but we are a long way from there (closer to Senegal and Sierra Leone), so I don’t know if it would be here or not. Our dog found it and was playing with it. We’ve lived here 5 years, and it is our first time to see the ugly thing!
Thanks again,
CFJ’s mom

Dear CFJ’s mom,

Thanks for your kind response.  We are pretty certain about the identification.


Location: Africa

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