The Name “Mosquito”
The Spanish called the mosquitoes “musketas,” and the native Hispanic Americans called them “zancudos.” “Mosquito” is a Spanish or Portuguese word meaning “little fly” while “zancudos,” a Spanish word, means “long-legged.” The use of the word “mosquito” is apparently of North American origin and dates back to about 1583. In Europe, mosquitoes were called “gnats” by the English, “Les moucherons” or “Les cousins” by French writers, while the Germans used the name “Stechmucken” or Schnacke.|” In Scandinavian countries mosquitoes were called by a variety of names including “myg” and “myyga” and the Greeks called the “konopus.” In 300 B.C., Aristotle referred to mosquitoes as “empis” in his “Historia Animalium” where he documented their life cycle and metamorphic abilities. Modern writers used the name Culex and it is retained today as the name of a mosquito genus. What is the correct plural form of the word mosquito? In Spanish it would be “mosquitos,” but in English “mosquitoes” (with the”e”) is correct.
By Tom Floore
Public Health Entomology Research & Education Center
Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University