Mosquito life cycle
A mosquito’s life cycle has four stages:
- adult mosquito.
By understanding mosquito biology we can find ways to control mosquito populations and reduce the spread of arboviruses and disease.
A mosquito lays its eggs on the surface of stagnant water or just above the water line in areas like marshes, ponds, puddles, tidal pools, rainwater tanks, buckets and birdbaths. Some of these eggs can survive in dry air for several months and hatch when they are flooded by rain, high tide or watering. A wriggler that hatches from an egg is known as a larva.
Larva hatch from mosquito eggs. They live in stagnant water, but not in running water. Most species of mosquito larvae feed on micro-organisms from the water by either filter-feeding or scraping detritus off the bottom. Other species are predatory and eat other mosquito larvae. It can take anywhere from 5 days to a few weeks for a larva to become an adult, depending on the temperature and the species. The larva becomes a pupa.
The larva becomes a pupa, and lives in the same stagnant water environment. The pupa does not feed, but may swim in a characteristic tumbling motion when disturbed. It breathes air through structures called trumpets. The pupal stage usually lasts two or three days before an adult mosquito emerges.
The adult mosquito emerges from the pupa and spends several hours stretching out and drying its wings to prepare for flight. Only the female mosquito bites – she sucks blood to obtain protein to produce eggs. Some mosquito species do not bite at all. Male mosquitoes only feed on nectar or other sugar sources. They are short-lived and usually die within a week. Females tend to survive a month or more.