Life Cycle of Anopheles Species Mosquitoes

Anopheles species mosquitoes

It usually takes 10–14 days for an egg to develop into an adult mosquito.

The life cycle of an Anopheles species mosquito includes an adult phase, an egg phase, a larval phase, and a pupal phase. It usually takes 10 to 14 days for an egg to develop into an adult mosquito.

Life stages of Anopheles species


Unique Anopheles eggs have floats on either side.

Unique Anopheles eggs have floats on either side.

  • Anopheles, the mosquitoes that spread malaria, like to lay their eggs in marshy areas or near the banks of shallow creeks and streams.
  • Adult, female mosquitoes lay eggs one at a time directly on water. The eggs float on the surface of the water.
  • Adult, female mosquitoes lay 50–200 eggs at a time.
  • Eggs do not tolerate drying out.


Anopheles stephensi mosquito larva.

Larvae live in the water.

  • Larvae live in the water. They hatch from mosquito eggs.
  • Anopheles larvae breath by using special organs (called spiracles) located on their abdomen.
  • Larvae shed their skin (molt) four times during this stage before becoming pupae.


Anopheles stephensi mosquito pupa.

Mosquito pupa in water.

  • Pupae live in water. Pupae do not have external mouthparts, so they do not eat during this stage.
  • An adult mosquito emerges from a pupa and flies away.


A soon-to-be adult Anopheles species mosquito emerges from its pupa.
An adult mosquito emerges from a pupa.
An adult female mosquito rests on a person’s arm.
An adult female mosquito bites a person.
  • Adult female Anopheles mosquitoes bite people and animals, usually late in the evening or at night. Female mosquitoes need blood to produce eggs.
  • Adult female Anopheles mosquitoes prefer to feed on people or animals, such as cattle.
  • Some Anopheles male mosquitoes fly in large swarms, usually around dusk, and the females fly in the swarms to mate.
  • After blood feeding, a female mosquito rests for a few days while the blood digests and the eggs develop. After the eggs develop, the female lays them in water sources.
  • Anopheles mosquitoes generally don’t fly more than a 1.2 miles (2 km) from their larval habitats.
  • Anopheles mosquitoes are attracted to dark, sheltered areas for resting during the daytime.

Related Resources

Mosquito Life Cycle: Anopheles species mosquitoes

Malaria biology
Lymphatic filariasis