Word Origin & History
1884, Anglicized from Mod.L. aphides, pl. of aphis, coined by Linnaeus (1758), though where he got it and why he applied it to the plant louse are mysteries. The theory favored by OED as "least improbable" is that it derives from the pl. of Gk. apheides "unsparing, lavishly bestowed," in ref. either
to the "prodigious rate of production" of the insects or their voracity. They also are known as ant-cows.