Lifecycle of Mosquitoes – Larvae Stage

Lifecycle of a Mosquito

Before we can really understand how to control mosquitoes, we must understand their life story. This illustration shows the four life stages of a typical mosquito. Click on any of the four life stages, or one of the mosquitoes’ hosts for more information.

Larvae Stage

Once hatched, mosquito larvae spend most of their time floating just under the water surface, filtering micro-organisms for food. Billions of minute bacteria and protozoa thrive in this gardener’s bucket of nutrient-rich rainwater and compost. Some mosquitoes prefer this kind of organic rich, highly polluted water. Others like their water less dirty. Looking closely, you see dozens of mosquito larvae and pupae clustered at the surface of the water for air. These life stages are sometimes called “wrigglers” and “tumblers” because of the motions they make when escaping from danger to the bottom of their breeding hole.

Mosquito larvae hang from the water’s surface head down. The “tail” serves like a miniature snorkel, keeping the larva supplied with oxygen. This adaptation allows mosquitoes to breath, even in very dirty, oxygen-starved water. The larval phase of a mosquito’s life cycle lasts for one to three weeks.