Identification, Images, & Information
For Insects, Spiders & Their Kin
For the United States & Canada

complete metamorphosis

Black swallowtail, collage of metamorphosis, 3 stages - Papilio polyxenes - male Horned Passalus life stages - Odontotaenius disjunctus Hypermetamorphosis of Striped Blister Beetle - Epicauta vittata
Classification
Kingdom Animalia (Animals)
Phylum Arthropoda (Arthropods)
No Taxon (Glossary)
No Taxon (C)
No Taxon complete metamorphosis
Identification
Insects undergoing complete metamorphosis have a four-stage life cycle:
1-egg (embryo)
2-larva, typically worm-like with several stages (instars)
3-pupa (resting, transformative stage)
4-imago (adult, sexual stage, typically winged)

An insect that undergoes complete metamorphosis is called holometabolous. The following orders have this type of development:
Neuroptera - Antlions, Lacewings and Allies
Coleoptera - Beetles
Hymenoptera - Ants, Bees, Wasps and Sawflies
Trichoptera - Caddisflies
Lepidoptera - Butterflies and Moths
Mecoptera - Scorpionflies, Hangingflies and Allies
Diptera - Flies
Siphonaptera - Fleas
Strepsiptera - Twisted-winged Insects

See metamorphosis for more details.