Definition of larva
larvaeplay \ˈlär-(ˌ)vē, -ˌvī\ also
1 : the immature, wingless, and often wormlike feeding form that hatches from the egg of many insects, alters chiefly in size while passing through several molts, and is finally transformed into a pupa or chrysalis (see chrysalis 1a) from which the adult emerges
2 : the early form of an animal (such as a frog or sea urchin) that at birth or hatching is fundamentally unlike its parent and must metamorphose before assuming the adult characters
larvalplay \ˈlär-vəl\ adjective
Examples of larva in a Sentence
The larva of a butterfly is called a caterpillar.
the larva looked ugly, but it was destined to hatch into a beautiful butterfly
Recent Examples of larva from the Web
That’s due in part to warmer-than-usual temperatures, preventing some of the ticks from dying over the winter—and providing ample feeding opportunities for their larvae so the population can grow.
There is no need to get too excited until the larva, which are often referred to as worms or caterpillars, are found feeding in the lawn.
If large numbers of larvae are ingested, trichinosis can be deadly, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Sea cucumbers breathe using feathery outgrowths of their guts, and several insect larvae breathe using butt snorkels.
Oak gall, a material created when gall wasps lay their larvae in oak trees, is an ingredient traditionally mixed into pastes to do everything from clean wounds to tighten your vagina.
Adult female ticks need blood to feed their larvae, which become nymphs, and then feed multiple times before becoming adults.
After oyster larvae produced by the Horn Point Oyster Hatchery are placed on recycled oyster shells, reefs are planted by the Oyster Recovery Partnership.
There, drenched in moonlight, gametes from different colonies began to fuse and form free-swimming larvae, which would eventually settle on the seafloor, bud, and construct new coral citadels—a process now more vital than ever.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'larva.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of larva
New Latin, from Latin, specter, mask; akin to Latin lar Lar
First Known Use: 1768See Words from the same year
LARVA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of larva for English Language Learners
: a very young form of an insect that looks like a worm
LARVA Defined for Kids
Definition of larva for Students
1 : a young wingless form (as a grub or caterpillar) of many insects that hatches from an egg
2 : an early form of any animal (as a frog) that at birth or hatching is very different from its parents
History for larva
To biologists in the 1700s, the adult was the only genuine form of an insect. The stages that come between the egg and the adult in many insects' lives were considered somehow unreal, or at best disguises. These stages were named with the Latin words pupa, “doll,” and larva, which in the Latin of the ancient Romans was a sort of ghostly demon or a mask representing a demon. Although to modern biologists larvae such as caterpillars are as real as adults, the traditional terms larva and pupa remain with us.
Medical Definition of larva
larvae\-(ˌ)vē, -ˌvī\play play also
1: the immature, wingless, and often wormlike feeding form that hatches from the egg of many insects, alters chiefly in size while passing through several molts, and is finally transformed into a pupa or chrysalis from which the adult emerges
2: the early form of an animal (as a frog) that at birth or hatching is fundamentally unlike its parent and must metamorphose before assuming the adult characters
Seen and Heard
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