Tag Archive | philadelphia

Your name is Indra?

Indra isn’t exactly a standard American name, I know.  However, when I was born, my parents saw a black swallowtail flit by the window. Papilo indra is its scientific name. Perhaps even as a newborn the folks noticed my flighty, restive nature?

Why, in 1866, the 22-year-old Philadelphia-born entomologist Tyron Reakirt decided on Papilo indra  for the species name is unknown. Philadelphia is a port city. Some ships docking there conducted business with India. Perhaps knowledge of Hinduism was common when Tyron was growing up?

At any rate, Indra is a sky god and king of the Hindu gods. Maybe Tyron felt this large new butterfly he’d discovered in the Wild West was king of the skies? Which kind of makes me royalty by extension. I knew my goddess-like sense of entitlement stemmed from somewhere!