Mosquito Life Cycle & Lifespan – Exploring the Stages
By: Rita Stadler
How long do mosquitoes live? The mosquito life cycle is short under the best circumstances. Very few mosquitoes live a long life, and very few people feel bad about that. Even though mosquito lives are short, their bites can have lasting consequences for people infected with mosquito related diseases. West Nile Virus, malaria and Zika are just a few of the diseases transmitted by mosquitoes.
Knowing the different stages of the mosquito’s life will help you protect against mosquitoes and prevent mosquito bites.
The mosquito life cycle:
The mosquito life cycle is made up of four stages: egg, larva, pupa, adult. Although they go through many changes, the lifespan of a mosquito does not last long. The life cycle typically takes up two weeks but can range from 4 days to months depending on conditions.
The first three stages occur in water, but the adult is an active flying insect. Only the female mosquito bites and feeds on the blood of humans or other animals.
- After finding a blood meal, the female mosquito lays the eggs directly on or near water, soil or at the base of some plants in places that may fill with water. The eggs can survive for a few months in dry conditions or even in snow until it melts.
- Mosquito eggs hatch in water and look like small, buoyant worms. Mosquito larva are even called “wrigglers” because of their worm-like appearance. The length of time to hatch depends on the water temperature, food and type of mosquito. Larvae live in the water, where they feed by straining organic material from the water. Then they develop into the third stage of the life cycle…
- During the third stage of a mosquito life cycle, mosquitoes are called pupae or “tumblers.” The pupa continues to live in the water but no longer feeds.
- Finally, the mosquito emerges from the pupal case after two days to a week in the pupal stage. The adult mosquito emerges onto the water’s surface and flies away, ready to fulfill its life cycle.
Mosquito breeding habits:
Adult male mosquitoes only consume nectar; the female mosquitoes are the ones that bite. After feeding on blood meal and mating, female mosquitoes lay their eggs in the water. Mosquitoes try to lay their eggs in small pools of water that do not contain fish. Even though mosquito populations may be high around large bodies of water, the egg-laying occurs in small, sheltered puddles along the water’s edge. Some species deposit their eggs in groups, termed rafts, while other species lay their eggs individually in multiple spots.
How long do mosquitoes live?
The whole life cycle only lasts about a week for males, while females may live as long as a month. Mosquitoes in the aquatic life stages are eaten by fish, amphibians and larger insects. Adult mosquitoes are hunted by bats and dragonflies.
Despite their short lives, mosquitoes are a serious threat to public health. Click below to find out how you can prevent mosquito bites and protect against mosquito related illness.