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Jamaica
noun
A firefly; A beetle that produces a blinking yellow, orange, or red light via bioluminescence.
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12 comments
Trinidad & Tobago
Trinidad & Tobago
Leah
9 years ago

In Trinidad we call it a candle fly

Jamaica
Jamaica
Drs
8 years ago

Hmm.... Always thought Peenie Wallie was a butterfly

A
A
Adria USA
8 years ago

I saw thousands of penny wallies in Jamaica in a small village when the electricity went out. It was magical. They're the size of silver dollars in the US, meaning huge. Here we call them fireflies but they're nowhere near the size and light intensity. One of the best light shows on earth next to the Northern Lights.

Belize
Belize
Hanansi_Breda
7 years ago

In Belize we call them Pea Wom

US Virgin Islands
US Virgin Islands
Jill
4 years ago

I remember them from Jamaica, and that - unlike fireflies - their eyes put out actual flashlight beams. What's more magical than that?

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Nurse Maureen
4 years ago

I had a patient email me her symptoms and said "I don't know the English word, but I am seeing peeny wally." I googled it, thank you very much for the information. Now I want to go back to Jamaica at the time of year I'm most likely to see the peeny wally with their magical light up eyes. Peace. ✌️

M
M
4 years ago

Is there a song in Jamaica about the peeny wally. Childrens song

Jamaica
Jamaica
Everton
3 years ago

It’s true that the word “wall” has a long A sound, but it’s a mistake to add a Y at the end of wall and have a correct Jamaican pronunciation of that beetle’s name. A more accurate spelling is “waaly”. I favor “waalie” but can live with either. Either way, it’s not a short A as in wallet, it’s a long A as in wall.

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Nina
2 years ago

Is this ever used as slang? My mother always used "peeny wally" to describe something small, and I am honestly shocked to learn it's an actual insect. How on Earth did this Carribean term make it into her Canadian slang?

Jamaica
Jamaica
2 years ago

Lots of Caribbean terms made/make it into Canadian slang. The "GTA" accent commonly heard in Scarborough is heavily influenced by Jamaican Patois.

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Rachel
2 years ago

I grew up in St. Clair, Michigan. My mother also used the term "peeny wally" to refer to something small (as Nina noted in 8-04 post), especially in the context of "little treasures" usually things we kids found and pocketed when we were little. Now Grandy might be heard asking her great grandchildren, "What little "peeny wallies" did you find" say on a trip to the beach.

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Peely Wally
2 years ago

Pale and sickly in appearance