The Lifespans of Insects With Short Lives

Many insects, such as butterflies, have a lifespan that occurs in four stages: egg, larva, pupa, and adult. Other insects, such as grasshoppers, do not have a pupal stage and instead go through three stages: egg, nymph, and adult. The length of each stage can vary based on many things, from the insect species to the temperature outside—but what some insects share in common is a very short adult stage. Keep reading to learn about five insects with some of the shortest adult stages in their lifespan.

lifespan of insects

The mayfly

Most mayfly adults only live for about 24 hours. Mayflies can be found in countries all across the globe, with over 2000 different species. In fact, the hatching of some species of mayflies even draw crowds of witnesses as thousands of adult mayflies emerge from large bodies of water. Another trait of mayflies is that adult mayflies can’t feed—instead, they are focusing on reproduction.

The male reproductive ant

Male reproductive ants are born from unfertilized eggs. Unlike the queen ant, which for some ant species can live for up to 30 years, most male reproductive ants only live for just a few weeks. Despite having a short life, they still play an important part in the ant colony: mating with a queen ant. Often, they’ll die shortly after mating.

The male mosquito

Mosquitoes are another flying insect that have very short lives in their adult stages. Like male reproductive ants, adult male mosquitoes are vastly outlived by their female counterparts. Adult male mosquitoes only live for about a week or two after they become adults.

The fruit fly

The adult fruit fly usually lives for just over a month. Unlike other insects on this list, there is not a significant difference between the lifespan of a female fruit fly and the lifespan of a male fruit fly. Fruit flies are able to reproduce quickly and in great numbers. A female fruit fly can lay up to 500 eggs in her lifetime.

You may think that you don’t need to worry about bugs with short adult lifespans, because they’ll just die quickly. But if you’ve ever had a fruit fly infestation in your home, you’ll know that unfortunately this is not the case. As we just mentioned, fruit flies can lay up to 500 eggs at one time. At the end of the day, no matter how short or long an insect’s lifespan is, it’s best not to let infestations go unchecked. 



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