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Life Cycle of an Insect: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Marla Lohmann

Marla has a PhD in Special Education, has taught students at the elementary and middle school levels and currently teaches future teachers.

Insects go through four stages during their lives: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. In this lesson, you'll learn about each of the stages of the life cycle of an insect.

White Specks on a Leaf - What Are They?

It's springtime and you are playing catch in the backyard with your friends. One friend throws the ball too hard and it lands in the bushes, so you go get it. As you're climbing out of the bushes, you notice little white specks on the leaves of one of the bushes. What are they? Well, those are likely insect eggs, and in a few days, weeks, or months, they will be full-grown insects. Cool, huh? Over the course of their life cycles, most insects go through four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Keep reading to learn more about each stage.

Egg Stage

All insects begin their lives as eggs. In most cases, adult insects lay eggs and then leave. Common locations for laying eggs include leaves, plant stalks, water, on mammals, and on the ground. Some insect eggs are so tiny that you cannot see them without a microscope, while other types of insects lay eggs that are much larger. The outside of the egg protects the growing insect, while the inside of the egg is filled with nutrients that are used to help the insect grow and prepare for the next stage in the life cycle. Depending on the type of insect, the egg stage may last between a few days and a few months.

Insect eggs on a leaf

Larva Stage

After the egg stage, an insect enters the larva stage of the life cycle. During this time, the insect grows a lot and eats a lot (just like you eat a lot when you are growing). The insect looks very different now from how it will look as an adult. If you didn't already know it, you would probably never guess that a caterpillar will one day become a butterfly, as the two look very different from one another.

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