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Life Cycle

Mosquitoes are two-winged flies that belong to the family Culicidae in the order Diptera.

There are approximately 3,500 species of mosquitoes. The family Culicidae is divided into three subfamilies: Toxorhynchitinae, Anophelinae, and Culicinae. Worldwide, there are 37 genera of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes live in humid tropics and subtropics, warm moist climates, temperate and cool zones - everywhere except areas that are permanently frozen. Over 60 species of mosquitoes can be found in Indian River County.

Life Cycle

Mosquitoes have four phases within their life cycle: egglarvaepupae, and adult.

The eggs hatch into aquatic larvae.  These larvae consume organic particles in the water and grow, through four stages or “instars” and then turn into pupae.  After a couple of days, an adult winged mosquito emerges from the pupal shell and rests on the water to dry out. The females fly off in search of blood.  The nutrients in blood allow the mosquito to vastly increase the number of eggs it can produce.  Most mosquitoes can produce a small number of eggs even without blood.  The larvae pictured use a special breathing tube that pokes up through the water surface.  Mosquito larvae and pupae do not have gills, they must periodically come to the surface to breathe air.  Some larvicide chemicals create a temporary physical barrier on the surface, preventing the larvae from getting air.


Mosquito pupae are somewhat unusual in that they are "active" instead of just a veritable mummy-like butterfly pupae. Mosquito pupae can still react to disturbances in the water or sudden shadows and will dive to the bottom for safety.