What is the life cycle of a mosquito?« Back to Questions List

There are about 2500 species of mosquitoes. Aedes, malaria causing Anopheles, Culex and Culiseta are few common species. All these look for water be it pure water or sewage water in order to breed.  They all lay their eggs in water and each species can be identified depending on their environmental needs to breed. Some breed along the edges of water while others attach their eggs to aquatic plants. Some go through their entire life cycle in a week while some take months together.


mosquito, life cycle

The mosquitoes go through four distinct stages of its life cycle - initially as egg, then larva, pupa and finally adult. Depending on the species, the eggs are laid as separately or together in hundreds or so as a raft of eggs. Eggs hatch into larvae in 48 hours.


The larvae are also called ‘wigglers’ as they are legless and move about with the abdomen that move them backward, forward or sideways in the water. The larvae feed on micro organisms in the standing water of marshes, swaps, sewage or any other water source. They molt (shed their skin) four times and start to breath coming to the surface of water. Towards the end of the fourth molting, they stop to feed.


mosquito, larva, life cycle

Then they change into active and non feeding pupae or tumblers. At this stage, the mosquito looks like the shape of a ‘comma’. The pupa does not eat. The mouth, legs and wings start to develop in few days. Once it is complete, the pupal skin splits and turns into an adult. The adult emerges to the surface of water where it rests until its body can dry and harden.


The first three aquatic stages may take few days for some species. Larvae and pupae usually cannot survive without water. They are also excellent foods for fish and other aquatic creatures. If a water source evaporates before the larvae and pupae within it transform into adult mosquitoes, the young ones often die.


How do mosquitoes identify their prey and suck blood?

How do invertebrates survive?