I think when combatting mosquitoes or other living forms it’s always a good idea to understand their life cycle. It might just help you prevent having them around your home or garden.
So here’s a quick article on the life cycle of mosquitoes.
- Adult or Imago
*Imago is the fully developed adult stage of an insect.
Egg – The eggs can be laid one by one or attached to each other to form a sort of raft. The eggs float on the surface of the water. Most eggs laid on the water’s surface hatch within a relatively short period of about 48 hours.
Certain species lays their eggs on damp soil that will be flooded with water. These eggs need to dry out and can survive winter, waiting for storms and being inundated with water before hatching.
The common point with all mosquito eggs is that they need water to hatch.
Larva – The larvae are also known as “wrigglers or wigglers” due to the way they rise to the surface of
the water through jerky movements of their bodies. Most larvae come to the surface to breathe. They have tubes for breathing and hang upside down on the water surface. Although there are different species that breath by lying parallel to the water surface or by attaching to plants.
The larvae feed on algae and microorganisms in the water and molt or shed their skins 4 times, each time getting larger. After the fourth molt, the larvae metamorphose into pupae.
The larval stage can last from several days to several weeks depending on the species and the conditions such as water temperature.
Pupa – The pupae are also known as “tumblers” due to their swimming action of flipping their tails. Common with the larvae most species come to the surface of the water to breathe.
The pupae don’t feed in this stage of development and they are less active than in the larvae stage. They spend most of their time hanging from the surface of the water, only diving deeper if disturbed. When the pupae are fully developed the skin splits and the adult mosquito appears.
Adult – After emerging, the adult will rest on the water surface to dry and allow its body parts to harden.
The adult mosquitoes normally mate a few days after the pupal stage. For most species, mating takes place by the males forming large swarms around dusk into which the females fly to mate.
The males usually live from 5 to 7 days feeding on nectar and other sources of sugar. The females usually live 1 or 2 weeks, this will depend on temperature, humidity, predators and the defenses of their hosts.
Once the female has had a blood meal, she will rest for a few days while the blood is digested and the eggs are developed. When the eggs are ready to be laid the female will find a suitable place to deposit the eggs and then go looking for a new host to renew the process.
If you prefer something a little more visual here’s a short video about the life cycle of mosquitoes.
Hope you’ve found this post interesting and you now know a little more about the life cycle of mosquitoes.