Mosquito Information
Mosquito Information - By Tom Floore

Introduction
There are over 2500 different species of mosquitoes throughout the world, of which 150 species occur in the United States. Each of the species has a Latin scientific name, such as Culex tarsalis. Culex is the "generic" name of a group of closely related mosquitoes and tarsalis is the "species" name which represents a group of individuals that are similar in structure and physiology and capable of interbreeding. These names are used in a descriptive manner so that the name tells something about this particular mosquito. Some species have what are called "common names " as well as scientific names, such as Aedes sollicitans, the "Black salt marsh mosquito."

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, and the Germans used the name "Stechmucken" or "Schnacke." In Scandanavian countries mosquitoes were called by a variety of names including "myg" and "myyga" while the Greeks called them "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.

[ Return to Mosquito Information ]