Mosquito Biology

Mosquitoes are members of the insect order Diptera, meaning two wings.


Depending on the species, mosquitoes can occupy a variety of habitats such as woodland pools, brackish marshes, or artificial containers.

Life Cycle

Mosquitoes undergo complete metamorphosis. This means they have a life cycle that includes four stages of growth: eggs, larva, pupa, and adult.

Stage 1: Eggs

Only female mosquitoes have the ability to lay eggs. In order to develop eggs, the female needs a blood meal. With each blood meal, the female can lay several hundred eggs. The eggs are laid in or around water and will attach to one another, forming a raft. Individual eggs will float independently. After 24 to 48 hours, the eggs will hatch and release larvae.

Stage 2: Larva

The larva stage takes approximately seven days to complete depending on food and temperature conditions. The larvae require water to live. If the water source dries, the larvae will die. The larvae grow and feed during four growth periods called instars. Larvae are sometimes referred to as wigglers due to the jerky motion made while swimming.

Stage 3: Pupa

Seven to ten days after the eggs hatch, the larvae transform to pupa. At this time, they can breathe oxygen. However, they cannot feed (bite). Mosquitoes spend one to two days in the pupa stage. They will then emerge from the water as an adult mosquito.

Stage 4: Adult

  • The males emerge first and hover around the site waiting to mate with the females.
  • Male mosquitoes do not bite; only females do.
  • The blood a female mosquito acquires through its bite is not a source of food but a source of protein for egg production.
  • Male mosquitoes live for about two weeks, while females live from three weeks to several months. Female mosquitoes can lay approximately 500 eggs during their life span.
  • The female in some species may bite up to 10 times to get a single blood meal.