In southern Kyushu, you hear people speak of a biting bug called チックン that lurks in shallow water near beaches. Researching the word a bit comes up with the more standard term チングイ, and it appears to be some kind of larval-stage arthropod. Whatever its biology, it's painful to be bitten by one. Are these terms equivalent, the one simply Kyushu-ben? Is anyone aware of any other variants? And can anyone provide a scientifically meaningful translation of the name? The best I've found so far is 'zoea', which is very vague.

  • Might 砂蚤 (すなのみ) be correct? I must say I'm not familiar with the term チングイ or チックン but given how close these loanwords are to 'chigoe' and how a chigoe is a sand flea I would think this might be it. Can someone cross-verify this?
    – psosuna
    Jul 19, 2017 at 0:43
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    The biting takes place while you're in the water (judging from the screaming of one child mid-swim), so probably not a sand flea. More likely a larval-stage crab or similarly argumentative arthropod. Jul 19, 2017 at 1:56
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    I've no clue whether this is a colloquial word in Japanese for a 砂蚤, but 'chigoe' is a word in English for a sand flea
    – psosuna
    Jul 19, 2017 at 18:19
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    Ah... that's what I've heard called a "chigger". I think it's American patois. "Chigoe" is not a US or British English rendering. Jul 21, 2017 at 1:06
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    Are you certain that it refers to a very specific bug, and not simply that this particular bug is what people usually get stung by there? The word チックン is just a form of チック or チクッ, which is an onomatopoetic word for stinging (like vaccination shots, insects, needles...). Having lived in the northern parts of Kyushuu for many years I've never heard it referring to a particular bug, so the usage is likely in that case confined to the southern parts.
    – a20
    Oct 23, 2017 at 15:39

1 Answer 1


I live in Kyushu. Maybe you are referring to チンクイ (not チングイ), also known as チンクイムシ. This is the common name given to the larval stage of crustaceans. Utterance of which could incite giggles from the ladies. The proper name in Japanese is ゾエア, from the English name that you mentioned. (Reference: https://kotobank.jp/word/%E3%83%81%E3%83%B3%E9%A3%9F%E3%81%84%E8%99%AB-1465715)

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