Ladybird

Neither a lady, nor a bird.

Not even a lady bug as I have just learned that coccinellidae are not considered true bugs (hemiptera).

A whole loveliness (yes, that’s the collective noun for lady beetles). Properly fitting for an insect that in German alone has (according to Wikipedia) 1500 different regional names. The most common one is Marienkäfer which ties in with the English lady bug as the lady referenced is the Virgin Mary. The one I am most familiar with is Herrgottskäfer (apparently a protestant way to omit mentioning Mary by calling it Lord’s beetle). Himmelskäfer (heaven’s beetle) has the same explanation. Sometimes they are very plainly known as Junikäfer (June bugs) and thus prone to be mixed up with other beetles. The most prosaic is Lausfresser (aphid eater) yet it describes its helpfulness for gardeners. The one I like best is Flimmflämmke just for the sound of it (pronounced something like flim-flem-ka) and possibly has to do with its flame red colour.

What other names of ladybirds are known in English? Do you have them in Australia?

Linked to Friday Fun: Another.

8 thoughts on “Ladybird

  1. oh what a delightfully creative post! All this info and such fascinating names… thanks for sharing this 🙂

    and yes we do have ladybirds in oz, many different colours and others may know the correct names but we collectively call them ‘ladybirds’. We have a children’s nursery rhyme that goes
    ” ladybird ladybird fly away
    your house is on fire
    come back another day …”
    No idea where it originated but we sing it whenever we sight one 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have a similar children’s song in Germany. Although called “May beetle” it refers – according to different scholars – either to the actual may beetles or to the ladybirds: May beetle fly / Your father is in the war / You mother is in Pommerland / Pommeland has burnt. It goes back to the 30-year-war and different versions appeared after each major war (in one, England has been burnt down). Children still sing it today without knowing the reference.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I did not know all this about ladybug names in German – fascinating! I had always wondered why the boy ladybugs weren’t called “gentlemen bugs”… also enjoyed the whimsical photos.

    Liked by 1 person

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