Do you know how to say ‘snail’ in Welsh?

Tuesday 14th January 2020

Common names for invertebrates can tell us about the historical and cultural relationships we have with wildlife, many have interesting origins.  Some of the names for invertebrates in the Welsh language are quite literal, and some are really wonderful.

The Welsh name for centipede “neidr gantroed” means “hundred-footed snake”.  And ladybird “buwch goch gota” means “small red cow”!

Lots of British common names for dragonflies indicate an association with snakes, in Welsh the name “gwas y neidr” means “adder’s servant”.

Across the UK, woodlouse has many different common names, and Wales is no exception.  Welsh language names for woodlouse that we have found include “twrch coed” which means “tree hog”, “pryf y lludw” which means “ash insect”, and “gwrach y lludw” which translates as “witch of the ashes”!

Here are some Welsh words for invertebrates, do you know any others?

English                                                 Cymraeg

snail                                                       malwoden

bee                                                        gwenyn

beetle                                                    chwilen

ants                                                       morgrug

spider                                                    corryn

ladybird                                                 buwch goch gota

butterfly                                                pili pala

moth                                                    gwyfyn

caterpillar                                             lindys

ant                                                       morgrugyn

grasshopper                                        ceiliog rhedyn

earthworm                                           pryf genwair

centipede                                            neidr gantroed

woodlouse                                          twrch coed, pryf y lludw, gwrach y lludw

dragonfly                                             gwas y neidr

Wales is home to lots of amazing invertebrates – find out more about our work in Wales.