lac insect

Valerie J Roebuck vjroebuck at MACUNLIMITED.NET
Thu Apr 21 17:13:37 UTC 2005

It's a mite (arachnid, of the genus Trombiidae), not an insect.  See
Lienhard, S. 'On the Meaning and Use of the Word Indragopa', in
Indologica Taurinensia, Vol. VI, 1978.  The creatures you saw in
Jahanara Park in the monsoon sound about right.

Valerie J Roebuck
Manchester, UK

At 12:29 pm -0400 21/4/05, Allen W Thrasher wrote:
>While we're on this, does anyone know the scientific name of the the
>indragopa, a bright red beetle, which I was under the impression was
>bright red and about the size (I would estimate 3-4 mm long) of what
>in the US we call a ladybug or ladybird? (The latter is also bright
>red, but with black spots.)  Monier-Williams says it is the lac
>insect, but I doubt that.  Among other things, as I recall in kavya
>it is mentioned that the indragopa comes out in the monsoons and is
>found in the grass or herbage, whereas the lac insect dwells on
>certain trees or shrubs, and is not associated with any particular
>season.  A standard trope is to compare indragopas to drops of
>blood, or the reverse.
>I also thought I remembered that in Wasson's Soma book there was a
>discussion of the indragopa and its association with soma in India
>and of similar beetles and the fly agaric elsewhere.  But I had a
>quick look at the book and saw no such thing in the text or index,
>just a discussion of the associations of the plants with flies.
>I will have to look at the Opie's book on nursery rhymes, sub
>"Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home."  I am quite sure I read someplace
>that the association of such small bright red beetles with divine
>beings (Our Lady, Indra) is very widespread.
>I once saw a lot of bright but very tiny bugs or other non
>hard-shelled insects (not beetles) in Jahanara Park in Delhi during
>the monsoon, and wondered if that could be the indragopa, but they
>were so small I wondered how they could be compared to drops of
>blood in size.
>Allen W. Thrasher, Ph.D.
>Senior Reference Librarian
>Southern Asia Section
>Asian Division
>Library of Congress
>Jefferson Building 150
>101 Independence Ave., S.E.
>Washington, DC 20540-4810
>tel. 202-707-3732
>fax 202-707-1724
>athr at
>The opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of the
>Library of Congress.

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