Bookworm


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Bookworm, common name for any insect that feeds on the paper or binding of books. The name is most frequently given to the larvae of certain beetles, although any insect that normally feeds on starchy material or wood may eat paper. The beetle larvae are about 0.25 to 0.50 cm (about 0.1 to 0.2 in) in length.

Insects other than beetles, such as cockroaches and the tiny larvae of certain moths, have also been known to destroy books. One family of tiny, soft-bodied, wingless insects in particular are known as booklice and do considerable damage when they feed on book bindings or on biological specimens found in museums.

Scientific classification: The beetle larvae known as bookworms belong to the family Bostrichidae, of the order Coleoptera. The moth larvae known as bookworms belong to the family Oecophoridae, of the order Lepidoptera. Booklice make up the family Liposcelidae, of the order Psocoptera.

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