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Insect Life Cycle - Metamorphosis Types
   
She Was Completely Transparent With Me by Randy Son Of Robert on Flickr

The word metamorphosis is derived from the
Greek words meta, meaning beyond, and morphe, meaning change. 

 

All insects develop from egg to adult through the process of metamorphosis.  Insect life stages are timed to fit with seasonal cycles.

 

Insects have survived through 350 million years of climate and habitat changes using many strategies.  Metamorphosis is a highly

effective survival strategy for all insects on earth.

 

 

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gulffritillary_095_flickr by Unclaimed Mysteries on Flickr

There are two different forms of metamorphosis.  Complete metamorphosis is a 4 stage process that includes the stages of egg, larva, pupa and

adult.

 

Examples of insects that progress through  complete metamorphosis include butterflies, moths, bees, wasps, ants,

beetles and flies.

 

Larvae can be described as maggots, grubs and caterpillars.  This is the feeding stage.

 

The pupa can be described as a chrysalis or

cocoon.  This is the transformation to the adult insect stage.

 

 

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Larva of the Knot Grass moth Acronicta rumicis by Mick E. Talbot on Flickr


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Monarch Life Cycle — 12 of 20 by SidPix on Flickr


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SaltaMonte by HVargas on Flickr


Simple Metamorphosis is also known as incomplete or gradual metamorphosis. It

consists of 3 stages including egg, nymph and adult.  The growing nymph molts several times shedding its exoskeleton until it develops into a mature adult insect. 

 

Examples of insects that progress through simple metamorphosis are grasshoppers, dragonflies, damselflies, crickets and cicadas.

 

 

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Feeding Frenzy by Furryscaly on Flickr


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Stonefly nymph by DaveHuth on Flickr


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firefly 8823 by art farmer on Flickr

 

 

 

Metamorphosis cannot occur without 
insect communication. 

 

Insects communicate with sight and light. 

 

Fireflies luminate the darkness with flashing

lights in specific patterns to send messages

and attract mates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Cricket by whiskymac on Flickr

 

 

 

 

Insects such as crickets create sound patterns by moving the tympanums on their

forelegs.

 

Grasshoppers, cicadas and katydids all sing

their songs at certain times of the year.

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Cecropia Moth (Hyalophora cecropia) by Slomoz on Flickr

 

 

 

Insects such as night flying moths communicate via pheromones.  These communication scent messages are received through their antennae.

 

 

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