Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

The Naturalist's Apprentice: Insects and Their Young


Carolyn Nixon, Center for the Chief

Objective: to understand that insects have different types of development.


Materials: multiple copies of "Insects and Their Young."


Vocabulary: larvae, nymph, pupal stage.


Comments: Insects exhibit different types of development. In incomplete metamorphosis, the egg hatches into a nymph that resembles the adult; the nymph grows and molts until it is an adult with fully formed wings. In complete metamorphosis, the egg hatches into a larva that is very different from the adult in both appearance and feeding habits. The larva feeds and grows. It then forms a pupa and transforms into an adult insect.


Procedure: In the drawings below, the column on the left contains adult insects and descriptions of the immature stages. Match the adult insects with the immature insects shown in the right column.


Many insects look very different and have different lifestyles as adults and immatures. Some immature insects, known as larvae, look nothing like the adults, and must go through a pupal stage to transform. Others, known as nymphs, resemble the adults but lack wings. As the insect grows and molts, it develops wing buds, and when the wings are fully formed, it is an adult. Match the adult insects on the left with the immature insects on the right.

Answers: A=4, B=7, C=6, D=3, E=1, F=5, G=2


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