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
A rose garden that is deadheaded not only looks better and gives us more blooms, the deadheading also removes pests, their larvae and eggs and fungal diseases from the rose garden.
Other clues include tunnels under the tree’s bark where larvae have fed.
Andrianna Natsoulas, executive director of Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, said the group was also concerned about farm workers and consumers who might inadvertently ingest dead larvae that might remain on produce.
The physicist, Manu Prakash, was captivated by the patterns in seawater made as starfish larvae swam about.
Flea eggs become flea larvae, which become flea pupae — which hang out, just waiting for an unsuspecting host.
The Waitomo Caves hold thousands of bioluminescent larvae that leave long strings of mucus (sounds gross, looks dazzling) and glow like a subterranean Milky Way.
It is used by not just starfish larvae, but countless billions of other microscopic invertebrates that filter food from the oceans.
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: 1768
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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