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Table 2 Proverbs and common sayings referring to Invertebrata

From: Folk knowledge of invertebrates in Central Europe - folk taxonomy, nomenclature, medicinal and other uses, folklore, and nature conservation

Latin name, proper name (serial number in the Appendix) Proverbs, their meanings and explanations
Coccinella septempunctata
seven-spot ladybird (21)
We said to it: ladybug, where do you take me to get married? Then we married in the direction where it flew.
Vernacular prophecy.
Planorbidae (excl. Ferrissia, Ancylus, Hebetancylus) e.g. Planorbis planorbis
ramshorn snails (23)
If the snail climbs up from water onto something, it means the flood is coming.
Vernacular prophecy.
Gastropoda (excl. slugs) e.g. Zebrina detrita
snails (25)
Snail. This is the strongest animal carrying its house on its shoulder.
Joking comparison frequently quoted to kids.
Ixodes spp. e.g. Ixodes ricinus
ticks (28)
You’re like a tick.
Said mostly to kids with an affectionate joking gesture because of their attachment.
air-threads (44)
There will be no rain because it stretches.
Vernacular weather forecast.
Microtrombidium pusillum
dwarf velvet mite (46)
Shine, sun, shine, Jesus’ lamb is freezing to death under the gardens. And then the Sun shone.
A superstition wishing to change the weather.
Oecanthus pellucens
Italian tree cricket (55)
Autumn is here because the cricket chirps, saying ’gather, gather’.
Wisdom based on observations impersonating the species.
Gryllus campestris
field cricket (61)
You could not put down your clothing in the grass because old people said: the cricket would gnaw a hole in it.
Might be a belief.
Gryllus campestris
field cricket (61)
If you draw a cross on the back of a cricket, it would not jump any more.
Fun for kids based on belief.
Pyrrhocoris apterus
firebug (64)
They stick together like the firebug.
The firebug (Pyrrhocoris apterus) can be seen in dense masses in springtime.
Lytta vesicatoria
Spanish fly (86)
The ash tree is stinky, it will rain.
Prophecy connected to Spanish fly invasion.
Melolontha melolontha
cockchafer (88)
If there are too many maybeetles, corn yields will be good.
Maybe vernacular experience or possibly only a belief.
Cerambyx cerdo
great capricorn beetle (90)
Your moustache stands up like that of a capricorn beetle.
An analogy on the long moustache bending upwards.
Apis mellifera and Araneae
European honey bee (113), spiders (34)
Bees collect honey, spiders poison from the same flower.
Meaning of the proverb: there is no universal truth.
winged ant castes (120) e.g. Tetramorium caespitum When the winged ant comes out, it will rain.
Vernacular weather forecast.
Tetramorium caespitum and similar species
pavement ant (124)
Be like the ant and work!
Ants were considered ‘diligent’ animals (busy as an ant).
Vespa crabro
European hornet (127)
Nine hornet bites kill a horse.
Based on real observation, augmented to mythical heights (9 is a mythical number in Shamanism).
Vespula vulgaris and similar species
common wasp (128)
Yellow wasp, small wasp, large wasp, they all scratch on a bunch of grapes.
Pun made of a vernacular observation.
Andricus hungaricus
Hungarian gall wasp (132)
My mother made us thrown them away. You must not keep it at the house because brood will not hatch the eggs.
Belief says it prevents brooding of the hen.
Lepidoptera e.g. Melitaea athalia
butterflies (135)
The superstition was that if you see a yellow butterfly in spring, you would fall ill. If you see a red one, you will remain healthy and fall in love, if a black one, someone would die.
Vernacular prophecy. The yellow butterfly may be Gonopteryx rhamni, red ones may be several other species.
Lepidoptera e.g. Melitaea athalia
butterflies (135)
Even the mottled butterfly came from a caterpillar.
You do not necessarily worth more just because of your better appearance or even something ugly may become beautiful one day.
Saturnia pyri
giant peacock moth (151)
The boszorkánylepke (witch butterfly) were nailed above the door for superstition.
It was used as a superstitious protection against the Devil.
Drosophila spp. e.g. Drosophila melanogaster
fruit flies (159)
Fruit flies cause the wine to ferment.
In their opinion the presence of fruit flies cause the wine to ferment.
Drosophila spp. e.g. Drosophila melanogaster
fruit flies (159)
The man from Vörösmart swallowed the frog; he thought it was a fruit fly.
Mocking a village.
Tipula spp. e.g. Tipula maxima
crane flies (160)
We stroke the mosquito king to death; there will be no mosquitos now.
The Tipula species which are much greater than biting mosquitos but are related to them are presented by the saying as a kind of king.
Musca domestica
housefly (169)
Noah wanted to chase them out from the Bark. He could not. Well, fly, then. He said. And the name stuck.
Folk etymology for the name of the fly. He blames Noah for the existence of flies. Légy in Hungarian also means: be (you should exist).
Musca domestica
housefly (169)
If flies bite, rain comes.
Vernacular weather forecast.
Pediculus humanus capitis
head louse (191)
It’s not a shame to get it, only to keep it.
Educating saying on responsibility.
Haematopinus suis
hog louse (193)
You can find a louse only in a good hog.
In their opinion louses occur on healthy pigs only.
Odonata e.g. Sympetrum sanguineum
dragonflies (207–208)
Where there are dragonflies, there are no snakes.
It was held that wherever a dragonfly hovers over the water there will be no snakes in it.