The reproduction and development of insects

The reproduction and development of insects

Based on their life cycle, insects can be grouped into three categories: ametabolous, hemimetabolous or holometabolous insects.

Biology

Keywords

types of metamorphosis, ontogeny, postembryonic, gradual metamorphosis, incomplete metamorphosis, complete metamorphosis, insect, arthropod, arthropods, insects, damselfly, malaria mosquito, larva, egg, imago, pupa, butterflies, flies, mosquitoes, Hymenoptera, Diptera, thorax, silverfish, abdomen, moulting, animal, biology

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Scenes

Types of development

  • ametaboly (no metamorphosis)
  • hemimetaboly (incomplete metamorphosis)
  • holometaboly (complete metamorphosis)

Ametabolous insects

  • larva
  • larva
  • larva
  • larva
  • adult silverfish
  • egg

Hemimetabolous insects

  • egg
  • larva
  • growth, moult
  • larva
  • adult emperor dragonfly

Holometabolous insects

  • larva
  • pupa
  • egg
  • adult Anopheles maculipennis

Adult silverfish

  • adult silverfish - This 7–10 mm long insect is native to Europe but can now be found all around the world. It is characterised by its silvery body and three long appendages arising from the abdomen. The silverfish is not a picky eater; its diet includes mostly carbohydrates and starches, but it sometimes feeds on cotton and leatherware too.

Adult emperor dragonfly

  • adult emperor dragonfly - This insect is widespread in Europe, and it can be found in Asia, all the way to Northwest India. Its habitats are the plains, and it prefers well-vegetated bodies of water. The emperor dragonfly is a bulky animal that measures 68–84 mm in length. Being a predator, it feeds on other flying insects.

Adult Anopheles maculipennis

  • adult Anopheles maculipennis - One of the six mosquito species that can transmit malaria in areas where this disease is present. It prefers to feed on the blood of mammals rather than human blood.

Animation

  • ametaboly (no metamorphosis)
  • hemimetaboly (incomplete metamorphosis)
  • holometaboly (complete metamorphosis)
  • larva
  • larva
  • larva
  • larva
  • adult silverfish
  • egg
  • egg
  • larva
  • growth, moult
  • larva
  • adult emperor dragonfly
  • larva
  • pupa
  • egg
  • adult Anopheles maculipennis

Narration

Insects reproduce by internal fertilisation, that is, males deposit male gametes into the females' reproductive tract. After fertilisation, females lay the fertilised eggs. When the larvae hatch from the eggs, they moult several times as they grow and develop. Adult insects (or imagoes), however, do not grow or moult. The life cycle of insects varies. Based on their development, insects can be ametabolous, hemimetabolous or holometabolous.

In the case of ametabolous insects, the changes they undergo during their life cycle are relatively small. One example of such an insect is the silverfish, a cosmopolitan species often found in our homes. The egg of the silverfish develops into a larva, whose appearance and lifestyle is very similar to that of the adult silverfish. The only difference between the larva and the adult, also called an imago, is their size, colour, and level of development of their organs.

The life cycle of hemimetabolous insects involves changes that are much more visible. One example of such an insect is the emperor dragonfly. Its larva (or naiad) which hatches from the egg differs from the imago remarkably both with regard to anatomy and lifestyle. The larva leads an aquatic lifestyle, unlike the winged imago.

It is the life cycle of holometabolous insects that is the most complex of all. One example of such an insect is the mosquito. The larva which hatches from the egg develops into a pupa with time. The pupa of a mosquito is very active compared to that of other insects. At this stage, most of the tissues are broken down and new tissues are formed. Eventually, the pupa becomes a fully developed imago.

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