- By Tom Floore
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.
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
this particular mosquito. Some species have what
are called "common names " as well as scientific names,
such as Aedes sollicitans, the "Black salt marsh
The Name "Mosquito"
The Spanish called the mosquitoes, "musketas," and
the native Hispanic Americans called them
"Mosquito" is a Spanish or Portuguese word meaning "little
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")