What’s in a bugs name

You ever wonder how they come up with names for bugs? Usually names for things come from the people who invented or discovered them. For instance; John Crapper has been credited for the, em em, John and while everyone knows what a Ford is, you seldom think there was once a man named Henry who started the whole thing so many years ago.

With so many kinds of bugs and different species etc. the formula today has to do with latin and may describe the bug by its features. A house fly is actually Musca domestica diptera which literally means fly house two wings. Odd, but it makes sense because only two wings on an insect is quite unusual, most flying bugs have four.

In the early years of exploration however insect names came about referring to places they were found or what they resembled. The wooly bear caterpillar or the praying mantis refer to looks while the american cockroach or the european earwig seem to point toward their origin. Like so many things in life things aren’t always what they seem. American roaches aren’t really american and the oriental roach is thought to be from Africa.

One name that stands out, a human named Carl Linnaeus can be found in the description of many insects. Linnaeus was a renowned botanist, zoologist and physician. Thought of as the father of modern taxonomy he was charged with traveling the world to learn about new species of bugs and plants. In the 1700’s travel was slow but he made many trips around the known world and cataloged thousands of insect names that still hold true to this day. Linnaeus also classified humans based on color or actions which today would seem barbaric or even racist and even back then he took some heat from the ‘pc’ crowd. He died in 1778 but the foundation he laid continued on and insects are still named the same way to this day.

It does not please (you) that I’ve placed Man among the Anthropomorpha, but man learns to know himself. Let’s not quibbleCarl Linnaues pestcemetery.com over words. It will be the same to me whatever name we apply. But I seek from you and from the whole world a generic difference between man and simian that [follows] from the principles of Natural History. I absolutely know of none. If only someone might tell me a single one! If I would have called man a simian or vice versa, I would have brought together all the theologians against me. Perhaps I ought to have by virtue of the law of the discipline.

While some names do not seem accurate or make sense to us in our time the names have stuck. That is unless you go to Germany and find a German roach, there they will tell you it is a Russian roach. I guess the stigma of some names is just to much to bear.

About The Bug Doctor

Jerry Schappert is a certified pest control operator and Associate Certified Entomologist with over two and a half decades of experience from birds to termites and everything in between. He started as a route technician and worked his way up to commercial/national accounts representative. Always learning in his craft he is familiar with rural pest services and big city control techniques. Jerry has owned and operated a successful pest control company since 1993 in Ocala,Florida. While his knowledge and practical application has benefitted his community Jerry wanted to impart his wisdom on a broader scale to help many more. Pestcemetery.com was born from that idea in 2007 and has been well received. It is the goal of this site to inform you with his keen insights and safely guide you through your pest control treatment needs.

This entry was posted in In my opinion. Bookmark the permalink.