Metamorphosis describes the changes that the majority of insects go through during their life cycle. The two most dominant cycles are Complete and Incomplete.
Complete Metamorphosis is also called Holometabolous Development.
Incomplete Metamorphosis is also called Partial Metamorphosis or Hemimetabolous Development.
What is the difference between complete and incomplete metamorphosis in insects?
The number of life cycle stages insects go through during their transformation from egg to adult differs. Complete metamorphosis has 4 life cycle stages. Incomplete metamorphosis has 3 life cycle stages.
The majority of insects go through complete metamorphosis. There are four distinct life cycle stages:
The larva can be worm-like, although you can still see the six legs. The larvae for moths and butterflies are called caterpillars. Maggots are the larval stage of flies. The larvae eat constantly and grow rapidly.
A hard, protective case forms around the larva: this is the pupa stage. The pupa stage for a butterfly is called a chrysallis. The pupa stage for a moth is called a cocoon.
Examples of Complete Metamorphosis
Some insects that go through complete metamorphosis are:
- Ant Model
Ant Life Cycle
- Butterfly Model
Butterfly Life Cycle
- Silkworm Model
Silkworm Life Cycle
Incomplete metamorphosis only has three life cycle stages:
The nymph looks like a smaller version of the adult, but is wingless. Instead of going into a cocoon, the nymph grows into an adult by shedding its outer layer or exoskeleton. Once wings develop, the nymph has become an adult and will no longer shed its outer shell.
Examples of Incomplete Metamorphosis
Examples of insects that go through incomplete metamorphosis are
- Praying Mantis
Where you can find out more
If you need more explanation, leave a comment below or try one of these websites:
- uen.org Insect Metamorphosis
- HeathScientific.net Life Cycle Stages
- zunal.com Lesson on Metamorphosis
- Forum discussion about the different typs of Metamorphosis