Sing, Soar, Slide, Sting, Slap, Scratch!

Sing, Soar, Slide, Sting, Slap, Scratch!

(On Some Philippine Insects and Their Local Names)

Summetime once again—the season for camping, picnicking, and strolling at the parks. Usual nuisances though are the cankerworms, mosquitoes, and other pesky insects that abound during that time of the year.

“Yeah, those annoying mosquitoes,” agreed my inquisitive niece. “Oh, by the way, Uncle, what is mosquito in Filipino?”
“Lamók,” I answered.

“La-mok?”
“Correct, but you have to pronounce it fast, without putting a stress on the first syllable; like how you would pronounce reborn, not the way you say stubborn.”

The way many Filipinos who were born or who grew up here in Canada pronounce Filipino words may sound funny to a legitimate speaker of the language, but their interest in learning the national language of their ancestral country compensates for it. At least, they are trying; and unlike some other young kids nowadays, they are not ashamed to speak their native language.

“Uncle, are there lots of mosquitoes in the Philippines?” she asked.

I said yes, especially after rainy days and during floods, when canals, puddles, and other stagnant bodies of water become breeding places for such insects.

“How about other insects?”

“What about other insects?”

“I mean, are there lots of insects in the Philippines?”

Every time my niece engages me in a conversation like that, I feel that I should be ready with the smartest answers; inquisitive kids like her can be really persistent in a pleasant way. “Oh, yeah, you can find different kinds of insects in the Philippines, but this should not be surprising. Insects abound in any other country. They are among the most abundant kinds of animals in the world.”

“I’m interested in learning the Filipino names of some common insects like ants, butterflies, fireflies, and spiders.”

Sure. In that case, I better make a list of insects that are commonly found in the Philippines along with their names in Filipino. By the way, I have to correct you—spiders are not insects; they are arachnids.

Some Insects Common in the Philippines and Their Local Names
ant – langgam
bedbug – surot
bee – bubuyog
blowfly/botfly – bangaw
butterfly – paruparó
caterpillar (or larva of butterfly) – higad
cockroach – ipis
cicada/cricket – kuliglíg
dragonfly – tutubí
firefly – alitaptáp
flea – pulgás
grasshopper – tipaklóng
housefly – langaw
June beetle – salagubang
locust – balang
louse – kuto
maggot (or larva of housefly) – uod
mosquito – lamók
moth – gamugamó
termite – anay
tortoise beetle – salaginto
wasp – putaktí
wriggler (or larva of mosquito) – kitikití

The Last Leaf
Arachnids such as scorpions, spiders, and ticks; the usually aquatic crustaceans, like crabs, lobsters, and shrimps; and insects are all arthropods – invertebrates classified under the phylum Arthropoda that are best characterized by their segmented bodies, jointed limbs, and usually shell coverings that undergo molting. One easy way to differentiate an insect from an arachnid is by counting its legs: Insects have six legs; arachnids, eight.