Mosquito Life Cycle

Mosquito Life Cycle

Life cycle consists of egg, larval, pupal, and adult stages. All mosquitoes require water for complete development.

Egg stage:

  • Eggs may be laid singly at waterline in soil or in containers, or in rafts on water surface
  • Incubation varies according to habitat, geographic location, amount of daylight, temperature, and species
  • Most eggs hatch into larvae within 48 hours during the peak of summer
  • Eggs laid in the fall may overwinter
  • Eggs laid by some kinds of mosquitoes resist drying out and can remain viable in the dried state for months or years

Larval Stage:

  • Also called “wigglers”
  • Must have water to complete development
  • Stagnant water is ideal
  • 4 developmental stages “ larval instars”
  • Air tube for breathing called a “siphon” that penetrates the surface of the water
  • Feed on microorganisms and organic debris in water column
  • Some larvae have piercing siphons and attach to the roots of submerged aquatic plants for oxygen

Pupal Stage:

  • Comma-shaped body also called “tumblers”
  • Stage only lasts a few days
  • Pupae do not feed
  • Air tube for breathing called a “trumpet” that penetrates the surface of the water

Adult "Imago" Stage:

  • Newly emerged adults rest on the water surface while wings dry and harden
  • Average adult lives from 2 to 3 weeks, over-wintering adults live 6 to 8 months
  • Only females search for a blood meal
  • Many mosquitoes stay very close to their breeding site
  • Blood meal is used for egg development
  • First batch of eggs in spring may be produced autogenously (without a blood meal)
  • Males live only long enough to breed and do not feed on blood
  • Females can lay as many as 200 eggs with each blood meal and can have many blood meals in her lifetime