Pyractomena angulata (Say)
common name: Say's firefly

At the time of this writing, Indiana Representatives Sue Scholer and Sheila Klinker plan to introduce, during the next legislative session, a bill to name this species as the Indiana State Insect. Fireflies are widely known as beneficial, attractive, and . . . enlightening.

Specifically, it is Say's firefly that is proposed. This is an especially appropriate choice of state insect, as this species was first described by Thomas Say of New Harmony, Indiana, who has long been known as the father of American entomology.

For Say's description, see volume 2, pages 18-19 of

John L. Le Conte, The Complete Writings of Thomas Say on the Entomology of North America, two volumes, Baillière Brothers, New York, 1859. Reprinted by Arno Press, New York, 1978.

The genus in which Say placed this species was Lampyris, but, as is often the case with species named long ago, angulata has since been placed in a different genus, in this case, Pyractomena. Say's firefly is one of about 175 species of fireflies in the United States.

I thank Arwin Provonsha of the Purdue University Department of Entomology for permission to use his scientific illustrations seen here.

Thomas Say, father of American entomology
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