Legends of the Peanut-head Lanternfly

Legends of the Peanut-head Lanternfly
Peanut-head_lanternfly display
Peanut-head_lanternfly display

This odd looking creature is not an alien. It is an insect. In fact, it is a harmless insect. It doesn’t bite, it doesn’t sting and it delivers no venom. Found in Peru and sought after by many insect collectors, It is the subject of some interesting myths and legends. I think that its head looks like a peanut. Here are some myths and legends of the Peanut-head Lanternfly.

In 1885 John C. Bannor wrote of a strange insect known as the Peanut-head Lanternfly. Also known as the Alligator Fly, this insect had developed the reputation of causing death with a single bite. Bannor writes of stories of people, animals, even trees, dying instantly upon the bite of this horrible insect. Another myth said that if a man was bitten by this insect he must have sex within 24 hours or face certain death. Yet another myth reported the insects head to glow at night. Today of course, we know all these myths to be false. Still, this insect is very cool!

The Peanut-head Lanternfly goes by several names including peanut bug, peanut-headed lantern fly, alligator bug, machaca, and jequitiranaboia.  These common names are actually given interchangeably to two species of insect of the scientific names of Flugora laternaria, and Flugora lampetis. The two species are almost indistinguishable with lampetis being slightly more colorful and having a slightly larger head. The common names come from the look of the swollen part of the insects head. It is said to look like a peanut, or some say an alligator.  What does it look like to you?