corn beetle

Encyclopedia Article


Corn Beetle, also known as Anlt'áni in Navajo, appears in the sandpaintings of some Navajo ceremonials. Early researchers incorrectly translated the Navajo word anlt'áni, which means "ripener," into English as "cornbeetle." In Navajo mythology, ripener insects refer to pollinating insects, specifially lacewing flies and tree crickets, that play a role in ripening corn. Corn Beetle is therefore also associated with fertility and the ripening of corn.

Corn Beetle Girl is often characterized as the female companion to Corn Pollen Boy, both of whom are personifications of the corn pollen required for most Navajo ceremonials, including the Blessingway. Because the Navajo believe the Holy People are present in all the things around them, Corn Beetle Girl is believed to be found in a variety of "ripener" insects.

Photo Credit: 

"Lacewing, June 26, 2010" by jans canon is licensed under CC BY.

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