The Allusionist

139 Ladybird Ladybug



They're not ladies and they're not birds; they're not even technically bugs! But that's not the most surprising thing about ladybirds/ladybugs and their brilliant variety of names. Tamsin Majerus AKA Dr Ladybird explains why ladybirds are so great; and Johanna Mayer and Elah Feder of the podcast Science Diction, about words and the science stories behind them, consider what's in a (ladybird) name. This episode is one half of a collaboration with Science Diction, so go to their feed to listen to their episode It’ll Never Fly, where they set me a quiz about the outlandish and intriguing names given to fruitfly genes. There's more about this episode, and a transcript, at The music is by Martin Austwick. Hear Martin’s own songs at or search for Pale Bird on Bandcamp and Spotify, and he’s @martinaustwick on Twitter and Instagram.  Sign up to be a patron at and as well as supporting the show, you get discounted tickets to the upcoming Allusi