Mosquito Life Cycle
All mosquito species go through four distinct stages during their life cycle:
- Egg - hatches when exposed to water
- Larva - (plural: larvae) lives in water. Most species surface to breathe air.
- Pupa - (plural: pupae) does not feed; stage just before emerging as adult.
- Adult - flies short time after emerging and after its body parts have hardened.
The first three stages occur in water. Only the female mosquito bites and feeds on the blood of humans or other animals. After she obtains a blood meal, the female mosquito lays the eggs directly on water, in the soil in places that may fill with water, or at the base of certain plants submerged in water. The eggs hatch in water and a mosquito larva or "wriggler" emerges. The length of time to hatch depends on water temperature, food, and species of mosquito. The larva lives in the water, feeds, and develops into the third stage of the life cycle called a pupa, or "tumbler." The pupa also lives in the water, but no longer feeds. Finally, the adult mosquito emerges from the pupal case after spending two days to a week in the pupal stage. The adult mosquito emerges onto the water's surface and flies away, ready to continue its life cycle.
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