Lightning bug becomes Indiana's official state insect

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INDIANAPOLIS (WTHR) — Indiana officially has a state insect — the lightning bug, or firefly some may call it.

On Tuesday, Gov. Holcomb passed SEA236, making the Say's Firefly — Thomas Says — Indiana's official state insect.

“I know this bill bugged some of my legislative friends, but the truth is it’s a big deal to young students around the state who have reached out to us in support—particularly students from Cumberland Elementary School in West Lafayette. They’ve shown incredible perseverance and have advocated for the Say’s Firefly to be the official state insect for several years. Beyond the satisfaction these kids will feel when they look out on a hot Indiana summer night and see the state insect flashing away, the real beauty of this bill is the civic engagement it inspired in our youngest citizens. It’s taught them a great deal about how our lawmaking process works—and that if they are engaged, they can make a real difference.”

Students from Cumberland Elementary School in West Lafayette have campaigned for several years to have the bug recognized. This year Gov. Eric Holcomb took on their cause and made it part of his legislative agenda.

The insect was named by entomologist Thomas Say in 1826 while he lived in the southwestern Indiana town of New Harmony.

The pupils have argued that the lightning bug best represents Indiana because of its agricultural benefits and place in American history.