Mosquitoes - life cycle

Mosquitoes go through four stages in their life cycle development.
It normally takes between 7 to 14 days for an egg to develop into an adult if weather conditions are suitable for mosquito development.

Circular diagram showing the four stages of a mosquito life cycle

  1. Egg stage
    Eggs are laid on or near the surface of water or on damp soil that will be flooded. Some mosquitoes lay their eggs separately while other lay eggs in rafts of 200 or more. Most eggs hatch within 48 hours.

  2. Larval stage
    Mosquito larvae, also known as ‘wrigglers,’ live in many different types of water (fresh, brackish and saltwater). Most Larvae have siphon tubes for breathing and hang from the surface. Larvae go through four growing stages, called instars, and the fourth instar stage develops into a pupae.

  3. Pupal stage
    The pupal stage is a resting, non-feeding  phase where the juvenile develops into an adult. Pupae look like little balls in the water. It takes about two days before the adult is formed and development is complete. The pupal skin splits and an adult mosquito emerges.

  4. Adult stage
    The newly emerged adult rests on the surface of the water for a short time to allow its body parts to harden. The wings have to spread out and dry before it can fly.

Page last updated: Monday, 4 September 2023