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Mosquito Life Cycle

Graphic of the Mosquito Life Cycle


The mosquito goes through four separate and distinct stages of its life cycle: Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult. Each of these stages can be easily recognized by its special appearance.

Egg: Some mosquitoes lay their eggs on the surface of the water one at a time or stuck together in rafts of 200 or more. Other mosquitoes lay their eggs on damp soil that will be flooded by water. Most eggs hatch into larvae within 48 hours. Water is a necessary part of their habitat.

Larva: The larva (larvae - plural) lives in the water and comes to the surface to breathe. Larvae shed (molt) their skins four times, growing larger after each molting. Most larvae have siphon tubes for breathing and hang from the water surface. The larvae feed on microorganisms and organic matter in the water. Mosquito larvae, commonly called "wigglers", must live in water from 7 to 14 days depending on water temperature. Also, some species have naturally adapted to go through their entire life cycle in as little as four days. On the fourth molt the larva changes into a pupa.

Pupa: The pupal stage is a resting, non-feeding stage. This is the time the mosquito turns into an adult. It takes about two days before the adult is fully developed. When development is complete, the pupal skin splits and the mosquito emerges as an adult. The pupa does not eat.

Adult: The newly emerged adult rests on the surface of the water for a short time to allow itself to dry and all its body parts to harden. The wings have to spread out and dry properly before it can fly.

Only female mosquitoes bite animals and require a blood meal. Male mosquitoes do not bite, but feed on the nectar of flowers.

Life Cycle Video - Video showing the four stages of the mosquito life cycle

FMCA Video 1990 - This twenty minute video was created by the Florida Mosquito Control Association (FMCA) in 1990 as an informational video about mosquitoes in Florida.
(File size is 30MB) (Right Click here to download this file)



Leon County Mosquito Control
2280 Miccosukee Road
Tallahassee, FL 32308
Telephone: 850-606-1400
Fax: 850-606-1401