Skip to main content

The Mosquito Life Cycle

Blue and yellow circle outline showing the many steps of the mosquito lifecycle. On the right is an egg raft containing many small brown eggs, then moving down and to the left are four stages of larvae, which are long and thin. On the left side is a pupae, which is round with a large eye spot and a short tail, moving up and to the right is a mosquito emerging from the pupae, and then a fully grown adult mosquito.


Female mosquitoes deposit eggs singly or in rafts on or near standing water. These eggs are very small, and hatch within a few days. Check out this very cool KQED video showing mosquitoes laying eggs.

Six mosquito larvae viewed under magnification. The larvae each have a oval-shaped dark head, a long thin lighter colored brown body, and appear to be covered with small thin hairs.
Mosquito larvae, magnified.


Mosquito larvae emerge from mosquito eggs. They float near the water surface where they can breathe, but may move in a wriggling motion when disturbed. Mosquito larvae feed on microorganisms and other debris in water.


Mosquito pupae form a protective shell in which they transform from a larvae into a winged adult. During this time they do not feed. They float near the surface of the water, but may move in a tumbling motion when disturbed.


After emergence, the adult mosquitoes briefly rest on the water surface before taking flight. Female mosquitoes need to take a blood meal in order to produce eggs. They will seek out a host by sensing body heat, body scent, and exhaled carbon dioxide. Only female mosquitoes bite; male mosquitoes feed only on plant nectar.


Page last reviewed: August 30, 2023

Join our mailing list