Common furniture beetle (Anobium punctatum)

The bookworm: not a worm at all, but a beetle grub that hungers for wood. There are lots of different species of beetle that eat books, but this one is the Anobium punctatum, or common furniture beetle. Normally, they’d be found burrowing around in trees but books are made of pulped wood products and are like a chocolate treat for ‘bookworm’ beetle grubs. Of course, books made of chocolate wouldn't last long in a library and neither do real books once bookworms infest them.

The book in the display in Oxfam Book Shop shows you the kind of damage the larvae cause as they tunnel their way through pages, nibbling neat holes in the text and pictures, sometimes with humorous results.

Listen to… Zoe Simmons – Entomologist

Can’t see the player? Download the mp3 (444kb)

In 2013, while the Oxford University Museum of Natural History is closed to have the roof fixed, some of the exhibits have sneaked away to the town centre!
Find out more