Tuesday, June 03, 2008
My Backyard Bird newsletter has a column titled "Mosquito Hawk Mistake," which makes the claim that young people call dragonflies 'mosquito hawks' while "baby-boomers and their parents" use the term for the crane-fly (see picture). Interesting. I am certainly of the latter group, demographically and linguistically. And it's news to me that mosquito hawks (as I know them) do not in fact eat mosquitos! I checked DARE and it looks like both usages have been around for a while, actually. In fact, using the term for dragonflies goes back to at least 1737 ("The Muskeetoe-Hawks, are Insects, so called, from their continually hunting after Muskeetoes, and killing and eating them"). So all these years I was careful not to kill mosquito hawks (=crane-flies) because I thought they ate mosquitos. Hah! No more Ms. Nice Person, Mr. Crane-Fly!
Posted by Monica at 6:05 PM