• myopscience

Lovebug or Lovepests?

It's Valentine's weekend, and love is in the air. Everyone has a cute nickname for their significant other. Some feel more comfortable saying those nicknames in public, and some are kept private for fear of embarrassment. Some common nicknames are sweetie, pookie, baby, princess, and lovebug. The handle, lovebug, got me thinking about where the origin of the term derived. Merriam-Webster Dictionary states, "a lovebug is a small black fly (Plecia nearctica) with a red thorax that swarms along highways in the Gulf States of the U.S."

Fig. 1. This photo is showing a pair of lovebugs mating. Photo from Wikipedia

They are called lovebugs because of their habit of copulating in swarms during their mating season, where they remain attached for the next several days. These flies show up around March in the thousands and can form a small hazy looking black cloud. They could probably cover a car windshield in a matter of minutes if one were to drive through the mass. They pose no threat to humans because they lack the mouthparts and stinger to damage our skin. They are here for love and nothing more. I can see where we got the nickname from, and although I am not a fan of P. nearctica, I still have a fondness for the handle lovebug. Thank you for following along with this week's blog post. I thought I would throw something a little fun and festive in for Valentine's weekend. I will get back to my description series next weekend.

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