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Insects and other arthropods

Eggs and larval life

After mating, the female of the Black swallowtail always lays its eggs on a plant of the umbelliferae family, such as parsley.
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal (René Limoges)

After mating, the female insect usually deposits her eggs in a place where the larvae can find food easily. Depending on the species, eggs are laid individually or in groups and hatch after a few days, months or even years.

Some species lay only a few eggs, while others lay hundreds or even thousands. Some insects, such as certain species of mosquitoes, can lay eggs several times over the course of a few weeks. In other species, such as social insects, females take care of eggs, clean them, protect them and feed young larvae in the nest for a certain period of time.

Larval life

As with insects that undergo incomplete metamorphosis, larval life is mainly a stage of growth. Between each moult, the insect spends almost all of its time eating. Some insects eat only during this period.

The larvae of insects that undergo complete metamorphosis are often worm-shaped with or without legs. With varying degrees of mobility, they undergo a certain number of moults before they transform, not into adults, but pupae.

Immature stages of the mosquito.

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