A larva (plural larvae) is the juvenile form of an insect. The larva often has a different appearance to the adult and may possess bodily organs that the adult insect does not possess (and vice versa).

Larvae need to undergo metamorphosis to reach the adult stage. This separation of larva and adult often means that adult and young do not compete for food. For example, the caterpillar of a butterfly may have a very specific foodplant on which it feeds and the adult drinks nectar from flowers.

Different types of insect have other names for their larvae, for example, caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies and moths. For insects that undergo incomplete metamorphosis the larvae are also called nymphs.

The larvae of a Harlequin ladybird

The larvae of a Harlequin ladybird.

Other names for (or types of) Larva include:

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