Nymph (biology)

In biology, a nymph is the immature form of some invertebrates, particularly insects, which undergoes gradual metamorphosis (hemimetabolism) before reaching its adult stage.[1] Unlike a typical larva, a nymph's overall form already resembles that of the adult, except for a lack of wings (in winged species). In addition, while a nymph moults, it never enters a pupal stage. Instead, the final moult results in an adult insect.[2] Nymphs undergo multiple stages of development called instars.

Two Schistocerca gregaria nymphs beside an adult

This is the case, for example, in Orthoptera (crickets, grasshoppers and locusts), Hemiptera (cicadas, shield bugs, whiteflies, aphids, jassids, etc.), mayflies, termites, cockroaches, mantises, stoneflies and Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies).[3]

Nymphs of aquatic insects, as in the Odonata, Ephemeroptera, and Plecoptera, are also called naiads, an Ancient Greek name for mythological water nymphs. Usage of the term 'naiad' is no longer popular among entomologists, who have come to see the distinction between nymph and larva as more of evolutionary grade than a clearly distinct life stage.[4] In older literature, these were sometimes referred to as the heterometabolous insects, as their adult and immature stages live in different environments (terrestrial vs. aquatic).[5]

Relationship with humansEdit

In fly fishing with artificial flies, this stage of aquatic insects is the basis for an entire series of representative patterns for trout.[6] They account for over half of the over all patterns regularly fished in the United States.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Encyclopedia of Entomology Ed. John L. Capinera. Dordrecht, London, Springer. 2008, 2nd Ed. ISBN 978-1-4020-6242-1 (Print) 978-1-4020-6359-6 (Online)
  2. ^ Truman, James (1999). "The origins of insect metamorphosis". Nature. 401 (6752): 447–52. Bibcode:1999Natur.401..447T. doi:10.1038/46737. PMID 10519548. S2CID 4327078. Archived from the original on 2014-01-31.
  3. ^ Britton, David (9 July 2009). "Metamorphosis: a remarkable change". Australian Museum. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  4. ^ Redei, David; Stys, Pavel (July 2016). "Larva, nymph and naiad - for accuracy's sake". Systematic Entomology. 41 (3): 505–510. doi:10.1111/syen.12177. ISSN 0307-6970. S2CID 87053533.
  5. ^ Tutt, J. W. (1897). "The Nature of Metamorphosis". Proceedings of the South London Entomological & Natural History Society: 20–27. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
  6. ^ Austin, Matthew (2004). "Nymph patterns of flies". San Diego: theflystop.com.