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Common Names for Fireflies
A firefly by any other name would still glow as brightly. But fireflies are a numerous and prolific species living all over the world, and they're well-known in hundreds of different cultures. Because of this, they're called by many common names. Here are just a few of the many names of fireflies.
WE NEED YOUR HELP! Do you have a spoken or written word used for firefly or lightning bug in one of the many languages around the world? Please let us know! A large majority of the names listed below have been sent to us from visitors around the world.
Glow Worm - British word, sometimes used to refer to firefly larvae.
Hotaru - The Japanese word for firefly.
Blinkie - Jamaican term.
Jugnu or जुगनू - Hindi word for firefly
Minna-Minni - This is a Malayalam word for firefly. Malayalam (ma-la-yaa-lam) is the official language of the state of Kerala in India. Kerala is situated in the western peninsular tip of southern India.
ಮಿಂಚುಹುಳು (Minchuhulu) - Kannada word for firefly. Kannada is a language spoken widely in the southern part of India, especially the state of Karnataka.
Luciérnaga - The Spanish (spoken) word for firefly.
Cucubanos - Spanish (spoken) word used in Caribbean islands such as Puerto Rico and Cuba.
Ipurtargi - Basque language (Spoken in Spain & France)
Cuques de llum - Catalan name for fireflies from the principality of Catalonia in northeastern Spain near Barcelona.
Vaga-Lume or Pirilampos - Portuguese word for firefly.
Kelip-Kelip - (congregating firefly) in the Malay language in Malaysia.
Kunang-Kunang - (mostly for solitary firefly) or api-api in the Malay language in Malaysia.
Minnaminungu - 'Malayalam' language spoken in the state of 'Kerala' in India.
Kalamadiriya - Sinhala language of Sri Lanka
Leuchtkäfer - German
Glühwurm - German (Term for the firefly larvae (similar to Glow Worm)
Glühwürmchen - German (Cuter term that mostly children would use.)
Luciole - French
Mouche à feu - French Canadian (non-formal)
светлячок - Russian
Glimworm: - Dutch
Lucciola: - Italian
Πυγολαμπίδα - Greek name for firefly
螢火蟲 Chinese (traditional)
萤火虫 Chinese (simplified)
Hing Hoy or หิ่งห้อย - The vernacular name for fireflies in Thai language.
גחלילית of Gakhlilit - Hebrew word for firefly meaning “little ember” or “little spark”.
Vuurvliegie - Afrikaans (a cross between Dutch and English)
Tulikärpänen - Finnish
Alitaptap - Tagalog language (Also known as Filipino. Spoken in the Philippines.)
Ates Bocegi - The name for firefly in Turkish
Szentjánosbogár - Hungarian
Wauwatosa - Potawatomi Native American Indian name for firefly
Ildflue - Norwegian word for firefly
Licurici - Romanian
يراعة - Arabic
Muzbieh il-lejl - Maltese word for glowworm from the island nation of Malta.
Got a unique name for fireflies, or know their name in another language? Tell us about it! Submit it here, and we'll put it up on our site.
More than half of the translations listed above are a result of submissions to Firefly.org! Thank you!
The Aztecs used the name for firefly metaphorically, meaning a spark of knowledge in a world of ignorance or darkness
The chinese thought that twinkling little beetles came from when you burned grass.
The Greeks of old had a name for fireflies, it was: λάμπουρος which translates as "the bright-tailed".
Fun Fact:American Indians
Native American Indians collected fireflies and smeared them as decorations on their faces and chest.
An old european legend warned that if a lightning bug flew in the window, someone was going to die.
In Belgium it is considered lucky to catch a firefly on June 24th, the feast of St. John the Baptist.
In parts of Germany the appearance of a firefly under the cradle on the same day is believed to foretell an early death for a child..
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