From Mosquito Larvae to Adult Mosquitoes
Although most people know that mosquitoes are a hindrance,
ruining picnics, spoiling camping and other outdoor activities
with their itchy bites, many of us may not be aware of their
interesting four-part life cycle. How does this insect morph
from mosquito larvae to an annoying adult pest?
A female mosquito will lay her eggs on the water’s surface
only after she has been able to bite a person or animal as
her eggs require blood for nourishment. She is not selective;
she deposits her eggs on any standing source of water, including
sewer water, ponds, house gutters, and even garden pots that
have accumulated rainwater. While a mosquito lays many eggs,
they are laid one at a time. Within a couple of days, the
eggs hatch and become mosquito larvae.
Once the mosquito larvae have hatched, it spends between 7
and 14 days bobbing just beneath the water’s surface.
However, it does come to the top to breathe through small
tubes which are called siphons. As the larvae progresses,
it goes through four stages of molting, the shedding of its
skin. The successive stages between each shedding are called
instars. Thereafter, the mosquito larvae become a pupa.
This stage of the mosquito’s life cycle lasts between
1 and 4 days. Unlike the mosquito larvae that rested beneath
the water’s surface, the light pupae float to the top
and remain there. Like larvae that breathed through siphons,
pupae breathe through tubes called trumpets. This a resting
phase; the pupae do not eat. When the fully developed mosquito
breaks the pupa case, it emerges as an adult.
The adult mosquito does not fly away immediately after emerging
from the pupa case as it must rest on top of the water for
a certain amount of time in order to dry and wait for its
body to harden. The length of time that this process takes
depends on the type of mosquito.
A Tip or Two
The best way to prevent mosquito larvae from developing on
your property is to remove all sources of standing water.
- A water fountain should be turned on at some point each
- The water in a bird bath or dog bowl should be changed
- Children’s plastic pools should be emptied and allowed
to dry after each use.
- Turn over pots, buckets, garbage lids, and all outside
containers in order to avoid collecting rainwater.
An Interesting Fact
Beside the fact that a mosquito’s life cycle is fascinating,
it is equally interesting to note that there are more than
2500 different types of mosquitoes around the world. Within
the United States alone, there are about 150 types of mosquitoes.