Currently, there is no Indiana State Insect. Many come to mind as candidates… However, there is proposed legislation to name Pyractomena angulate (common name: Say’s Firefly) the new Indiana State Insect. It is altogether fitting and exciting!
Say’s Firefly was first described by Thomas Say who is considered the father of American Entomology. Say was a taxonomist, who described and named many living things such as insects and mollusks. He accompanied other scientists and educators on the famous “Boatload of Knowledge” party that arrived in New Harmony, IN in January of 1826. A year after moving to Indiana, Say married Lucy Way Sistare, an artist who helped with her husband’s illustrations and was elected the first woman member of the Academy of Natural Sciences. Thomas Say described over 1,000 new species of beetles and over 400 insect species in his lifetime. His work in Indiana is considered his most monumental.
Say’s Firefly is one of the 175 firefly species that are sadly disappearing.
Of all the insects Say described, the firefly is the perfect one for the Indiana State Insect. Anyone who has spent time around Indiana’s lakes and streams know that they are so much more magical with the twinkling of this harmless and threatened creature (lightning bugs threatened…please see previous blog post: “Like Lightning”).
“Bringing to light” the plight of fireflies, honoring a legendary entomologist, and finally naming an Indiana State Insect sounds like enlightened legislation. Say Indiana-Say’s Firefly says it all!