Life Cycle of Culex Species Mosquitoes

Life stages of Culex pipiens, Cx. quinquefasciatus, and Cx. tarsalis

It takes about 7-10 days for an egg to develop into an adult mosquito.

Culex species mosquito life cycle. see paragraphs below for text


egg raft deposited by a female Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito

Eggs stick together to form a raft.

  • Adult, female mosquitoes lay eggs on the surface of fresh or stagnant water. Water sources can include barrels, horse troughs, ornamental ponds, unmaintained swimming pools, puddles, creeks, ditches, and marshy areas.
  • A female Culex mosquito lays eggs one at a time. Eggs stick together to form a raft of 100 to 300 eggs. The raft floats on the water.


Culex quinquefasciatus L4 Larvae

Larvae in the water

  • Larvae hatch from mosquito eggs and live in water.
  • Larvae can be seen in the water. They are very active and are often called “wigglers.”
  • They feed on a variety of things found in the water.
  • Larvae shed their skin (molt) several times during this stage.


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


Adult Culex quinquefasciatus mosquito Feeding on human

Female mosquito after a blood meal.

  • Adult female mosquitoes bite people and animals. Mosquitoes need blood to produce eggs.
  • After blood feeding, female mosquitoes look for water sources to lay eggs. Several days pass between feeding and looking for a place to lay eggs.
  • Culex mosquitoes don’t fly long distances but have been known to fly up to 2 miles (3.2 km).
  • Some Culex mosquitoes prefer to live near and bite birds. They bite people when other animals are not nearby.
  • Because Culex bite animals and people, they live outdoors or near homes.

Related Resources

Mosquito Life Cycle: Culex species mosquitoes