What we have been finding: Mosquito larvae

One type of freshwater invertebrate that we have identified from our ponds belongs to the family Culicidae, and is commonly known as mosquito larvae. We have found this species to be quite abundant in certain ponds. These larvae have a well-developed head with mouth brushes used for feeding. They also have a large thorax with no legs and a segmented abdomen.

They tend to be found on the surface of the water, and will only dive below the surface when disturbed. The larvae must come to the surface regularly, as located on their eighth abdominal segment are spiricles which they use to breathe through.

The larvae move in a figure of eight motion, and are often referred to as ‘wrigglers’. They move through propulsion with their mouth brushes.

Photo by Neil Phillips

The mosquito larvae mainly feed on algae, bacteria and other micro-organisms found towards the surface of a pond.

In order to grow, during their larvae stage, they shed their skin around four times, getting bigger each time. How long the larvae stay in the water depends on the temperature of the water, but generally takes between 7-14 days.

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3 Responses to What we have been finding: Mosquito larvae

  1. Neil says:

    Interesting stuff, but if you use my photo could you credit me and/or link to my website please

  2. David says:

    Facsinating the creatures that you are finding in these ponds. Have you managed to identify the mosquito larvae?

  3. szscalam says:

    The chances are high that the mosquitoes are Culex pipiens since these have been breeding on campus in nearby containers. Their common name is the Common House Mosquito. Now that the weather is turning cold, you will find adult females looking for sites to hibernate. If you visit a pub with an old-fashioned outside loo, you can often find them sitting on the walls.

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