West Umatilla Mosquito Control District

mosquito larvaeMosquito larvae, commonly called "wigglers," live in water from 4 to 14 days depending on water temperature.

Larvae must come to the surface at frequent intervals to obtain oxygen through a breathing tube called a siphon. They are constantly feeding since maturation requires a huge amount of energy and food. They hang with their heads down and the brushes by their mouths filtering anything small enough to be eaten toward their mouths to nourish the growing larvae. They feed on algae, plankton, fungi and bacteria and other microorganisms. They breath at the water surface with the breathing tube up breaking the water surface tension. One mosquito species larva feeds on larvae of other mosquitoes: Toxorhynchites, the largest mosquito known, are predators of other mosquito larvae sharing their habitat. Their larvae are much larger than other mosquito larvae.

During growth, the larva molts (sheds its skin) four times. The stages between molts are called instars. At the 4th instar, the usual larva reaches a length of almost 1/2 inch and toward the end of this instar ceases feeding. When the 4th instar larva molts, it becomes a pupa.

mosquito larvae

West Umatilla Mosquito Control District

Dedicated to the Protection of Public Health Through the Reduction of Public Health Vectors