Mosquitoes Go Through 4 Stages of Life: Egg, Larva, Pupa & Adult
The mosquito life cycle is a process that takes place in varying degrees of time, depending on temperature and species characteristics. All mosquitoes follow this life cycle, assuming they stay alive long enough to experience all four stages.
The process can be completed in as little as four days, or as long as 30 days, and each stage has unique traits to both mosquitoes and the stage they are in.
Egg Stage of Life
Mosquito eggs are laid by mother mosquitoes on or near a still-water source. Eggs are laid one at a time and then attached to form “rafts” that float along together.
Typically, eggs will hatch within 24 to 48 hours of being laid but, depending on the weather conditions, they could go through an entire winter before hatching. In any instance, water is a necessary part of their habitation.
Larva Stage of Life
Mosquito larva, also known as wrigglers, live in the water and come to the surface to breathe.
They spend their days hanging upside down from the top of the water’s surface breathing from siphon tubes and feeding on microorganisms and organic matter found in the water. Those who lack siphon tubes lie parallel to the surface of the water in order to eat and obtain oxygen to breathe or attach to plants to get their air supply.
During the larva stage, mosquitoes molt their skin four times, growing larger after each molt. During its molt, the mosquito, a cold-blooded insect, would grow faster if the weather is warmer.
In this stage of their lives, mosquitoes are very vulnerable to predators including fish, birds, and other mosquito larva. After molting four times, which takes about seven days to complete depending on the weather, the larva changes into a pupa.
Pupa Stage of Life
The metamorphosis/cocoon stage that happens in butterflies is similar to when a mosquito is changing into an adult.
The pupa stage is a resting, non-feeding stage of development that occurs entirely in water. At this stage, the pupa, also known as tumblers, are mobile, respond to changes in light, and tumble around the water using their tails to push them around.
Mosquito species will spend anywhere from two days to a week in this transformation stage which occurs about a week to ten days after the egg is originally hatched. If they are disturbed, the pupa go deeper into the water and eventually float back up. When the pupa stage is over, air pressure is used for the adult to emerge from the cocoon by splitting the skin which holds it together.
Adult Stage of Life
Upon immersion from the pupa stage, an adult mosquito rests on the surface in an attempt to dry itself and allow its body parts to harden.
Wings must fully dry before flight can take place. For the most part, mosquitos pretty must stay where they emerge but are capable of flying up to 5 miles, staying close to the ground to avoid being dispersed by the wind.
During their adult lives, male and female mosquitoes will feed on nectar and fruit juice. When mating season begins, shortly after immersion, males continue this pattern while females must obtain a blood meal for reproduction.
Male mosquitoes will mate once and live anywhere from three to five days after mating. Female mosquitoes will incubate eggs for up to five days before depositing them directly on or near water, soil or at the base of a plant.
They can lay several hundreds of eggs with each blood meal and in their lifetime. Adult mosquitoes can feel your warmth, smell your scent and see you from up to 100 feet away. During this adult life, the biggest predators to fully grown mosquitoes are bats, birds and humans.