Mosquito Metamorphosis

Mosquito Larvae
Mosquito larvae floating and breathing beneath surface of water.

Amazing Macro Footage of Mosquitoes

The transformation a mosquito undergoes from egg to adult is an amazing, strange and somewhat eerie process to watch.

No worries, mozzie!

We found an excellent video documentary (below) so you can enjoy all four stages of mosquito metamorphosis; up-close and personal.

Grab the popcorn, get comfortable, and enjoy! It’s only 4 minutes long. ­čÖé

Credit: Richard Kern ┬╣

Video duration: 4:20

Are You Breeding Mosquitoes?

Intro:

“The incredibly fascinating life cycle of a common pest. Amazing macro footage of mosquitoes hatching, shot by wildlife filmmakers Richard C. and Richard S. Kern.”


Begin transcript
:

“Whether you want to or not, you may be breeding mosquitoes around your house.

As the water in these places turn slimy with with fallen leaves and algae, it becomes a perfect place for mosquito larvae to feed and grow.

These man-made catch basins lack the minnows and other predators you find in natural bodies of water.

In the everglades the mosquitofish ┬▓, Gambusia, is famous for picking off the larvae.

The carnivorous plant called the bladderwort can also capture and digest mosquito larvae.

In nature, water stagnates in drying pools.

Even an old tortoise shell can collect water.

Stagnant water can be temporary, but it may last long enough for a mosquito to complete its brief life cycle.

In Florida, bromeliads are mosquito factories, as my son Richard and I soon discovered while making this film.

The leaves of the bromeliad funnel water into the base of the plant.

The mosquito takes advantage of this protective reservoir.

The mosquito has been a scourge to people since the dawn of humanity.

It can transmit encephalitis and malaria.

Despite its tiny size, the mosquito is no joke.

Surprisingly, it’s not the male mosquito that plagues us.

He only sips plant juices.

The female is the bloodsucker.

She needs a blood meal to make her eggs.

Most species of mosquitoes lay a raft of tiny eggs on the surface of a stagnant pool, like you might find in a bromeliad.

After floating for a day or two, the eggs hatch into larvae.

The larvae grow quickly, feeding on algae and bits of organic matter.

They breathe through a siphon tube, which they use to penetrate the surface for a quick breath.

Within days, it is time for the third phase of the mosquito’s development.

The larva curls into the shape of a comma, molts, and begins to rest while it is developing.

This pupa stage cannot eat anything, but it does have two air tubes for breathing.

After a few more days, metamorphosis has been accomplished.

Like a scene stolen from science fiction, the pupa splits open at the surface of the stagnate pool.

  1. Egg
  2. Larva
  3. Pupa
  4. Adult

These are the four stages of what is called “complete metamorphosis”.

Onto the water steps an adult mosquito, complete with wings and a piercing mouth-part, so amazingly different from its larval form.

For a moment, it allows its body to harden.

And then it’s off to find its first meal.”

End transcript

Footnote(s)

┬╣ Visit Richard Kern’s Google+ page and learn more.

┬▓ Visit Wikipedia for more information about the Gambusia mosquitofish.