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Mosquito Biology

The Life Cycle of Mosquitoes

Because they are aquatic in their immature stages, all mosquitoes must have water in which to develop. The larvae cannot develop in tall grass or shrubbery, although the adults may be found resting in these spots during the day.


The females of some mosquito species lay their eggs directly on the surface of water, in a raft of between 100 and 400 eggs. The eggs hatch in a day or so into larvae. Other species leave their eggs in a spot that will flood later, such as mud at the edge of a drying pond.


Mosquito larvae look like worms, with no legs or wings; they are often known as "wigglers". They need to breathe air, so they hang from the water surface and feed there by filtering small particles from the water, but will dive to the bottom for short periods to feed or escape capture. They grow rapidly during this stage, molting four times during the next few days. On the fourth molt, they become pupae, where they form legs and wings.


The comma-shaped pupae are also known as "tumblers" because they somersault in the water when disturbed. They cannot eat and must breathe air through two tubes on their backs. The mosquitoes grow inside the pupae. When they are ready, in about two days or so, they split the pupal skin and emerge as adults


The adult mosquitoes rest on the surface of the water until they are strong enough to fly, at which time they will search for something to eat. This entire life cycle from egg to adult can be completed in less than 10 days when the temperature is favourable.

Mosquitoes that Breed Around the Home

Mosquitoes of some species can fly far from their breeding sites. Their presence in your neighbourhood does not always mean they have bred or will breed there. However, certain mosquitoes are considered domestic species because they breed around the home in small artificial containers such as birdbaths and eavestroughs. 

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