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 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.

Mosquitoes can be a, serious health and pest problem in the human domain.  They interfere with work, tourism and spoil hours of leisure time.  Their attack on farm animals can cause loss of weight and decreased milk production.  Some mosquito species are capable of transmitting diseases such as malaria, yellow fever, dengue, filariasis and the encephalitis [St. Louis encephalitis (SLE), Western Equine encephalitis (WEE), LaCrosse encephalitis (LAC), Japanese encephalitis (JE), Eastern Equine encephalitis (EEE) and West Nile virus (WNV) to humans and animals.

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