Animals Undergoing Incomplete Metamorphosis – Every living thing will grow to be large and mature. When humans were babies, they were small in size and could barely do anything on their own. As time goes on, this baby grows up through childhood, adolescence, until finally adulthood and then turns old.
Well, in fact this process does not only occur in humans, but also in animals. Just like humans, the majority of animals just grow bigger than before. However, not all animals go through a normal growth process. Certain animals experience a special growth process.
This special process is known as metamorphosis. So what is metamorphosis? Let’s find out the answer together!
Definition of Metamorphosis
Unlike most other animals, animals that undergo metamorphosis not only grow bigger, but also experience drastic body shape changes. Not infrequently during this metamorphosis process, the animal grows new organs that make its appearance very different from before.
Butterflies for example, before having two beautiful wings, butterflies are just ordinary caterpillars that crawl from one leaf to another. But after undergoing metamorphosis, they are no longer caterpillars, they not only have small legs, but also two beautifully patterned wings which make their appearance very different from before metamorphosis.
Given the drastic change, of course this metamorphosis process was not completed in one night. Before changing, animals that undergo metamorphosis must go through several stages. What stages are there?
Stages in Metamorphosis
As previously mentioned, the metamorphosis process takes a long time and must go through several stages. Starting from the egg, then developing into a nymph, hatching into a larva, surviving in the pupa phase, before reaching the adult or imago phase which is the final stage in metamorphosis. To make it clearer, here are the stages in metamorphosis that animals must go through.
The egg is the first stage in the life of an animal. Eggs come from egg cells owned by females. The egg is then fertilized by the male, and turns into an egg. The females usually deposit their eggs in the safest and most suitable place for their babies when they hatch.
Mosquito eggs, for example, are stored in standing water because before turning into mosquitoes, these eggs will hatch as larvae that survive in water. Likewise with butterfly eggs.
Although butterflies can fly and can lay their eggs in high places, butterflies prefer to lay their future children on leaves. Although not very safe, when the eggs hatch, the butterfly larvae need the leaves around them to eat and survive. It is for this reason that mother butterflies lay their eggs on leaves, so that their babies will not starve.
Inside the egg, these baby animals start to live. Slowly but surely, their organs begin to form and function. Once everything is ready, these eggs begin to hatch and take on a smaller version of their mother’s appearance. These animal babies are then known as nymphs, and only occur in animals that undergo incomplete metamorphosis.
Normally, animals that pass through the larval stage or phase will experience a complete metamorphosis. However, some animals with incomplete metamorphosis are also often born as larvae.
This stage occurs, because the animal has a shape that is much different from its parent. While still a larva, animals are also actively moving. Not only active, they also eat in large quantities. Interestingly, not all of the food eaten by the larvae is digested.
At the same time, animal larvae also store some of the food they get, and make it a reserve food. This is done because in the later stages, animal larvae cannot eat, and will only focus on changing their bodies.
After gathering enough food, the larvae will stop eating, then begin to close themselves and turn into a cocoon or pupa. As long as it turns into a cocoon, animal larvae can’t go anywhere. To protect themselves from predators or outside disturbances, the larvae line their cocoon with a strong skeleton known as a cocoon.
And although from the outside the cocoons appear dead, inside, the larvae are actively carrying out massive changes to their bodies. It is not uncommon during this phase, new organs emerge and make their appearance resembling that of the parent.
For this change, the larvae need a lot of energy, and because they are no longer eating, they start using the existing food reserves and converting them into energy. Keep in mind that each animal takes a different amount of time to complete this phase.
Butterfly larvae need about twelve days, while larvae need only about two or three days to complete the pupal phase and turn into adult mosquitoes.
After completing the previous phase, the animals will emerge from their cocoons. Not as a larva, but an imago or adult animal with a much different appearance. In addition to changing appearances, animals that have entered the imago phase also have different habitats and foods. Butterflies, for example, will no longer live in leaves but instead fly to areas with high humidity and eat flower honey or nectar as food.
Also in this phase, imago animals will start looking for partners when the mating season arrives, and reproduce. The females will lay eggs, then the eggs hatch, become nymphs, larvae, pupae, then adults.
Types of Metamorphosis
Even though they both carry out metamorphosis, not all animals go through the same process. The reason is, metamorphosis itself is divided into two types, namely perfect metamorphosis and imperfect metamorphosis. What’s the difference?
1. Complete metamorphosis
Complete metamorphosis is a type of metamorphosis where the animal goes through the stages of egg, larva, chrysalis or pupa, then imago. Animals that undergo complete metamorphosis do not go through the nymphal process, and because they do not go through the nymphal process, these animals will hatch as larvae that have a different appearance from their parents.
This appearance will only change like its mother when the animal has passed the cocoon phase and reaches the imago or adult phase. Animals that can be examples of complete metamorphosis are butterflies and wasps.
2. Metamorphosis is incomplete
Imperfect metamorphosis, also known as hemimetabola , is a metamorphosis that does not go through the process of pupation and larvae. So animals that go through an incomplete metamorphosis process will go straight to the adult phase.
The main feature of animals that have imperfect metamorphosis is that they have a fixed shape when they hatch and the changes only concern body size.
Another feature that is no less important is that these animals often change their skin or molt . This change of skin is done because the animal is getting bigger. So big, their skin is no longer able to cover their bodies so they need new skin that is more suitable for them.
Animals Undergoing Imperfect Metamorphosis
Most of us probably only know butterflies as animals that go through metamorphosis. In fact, there are tons of other animals out there going through the same process.
Some animals go through complete metamorphosis like butterflies, and others have to be content with their imperfect metamorphosis. Talking about imperfect metamorphosis, here are five animals that underwent imperfect metamorphosis, what animals are there?
In this world, there are about 4,000 different species of cockroaches, and all of them undergo incomplete metamorphosis. When the mating season arrives, male and female cockroaches will reproduce. A female will produce around 40 eggs which then turn into eggs.
Crazy, one egg capsule can accommodate about 50 cockroaches. After 38 days, these eggs will hatch as white, louse-like nymphs. Like animals that experience imperfect metamorphosis, cockroach nymphs will not go through the pupal or larval processes.
They hatch with the same appearance as the adults in a smaller version. After passing 42 to 154 days, this cockroach nymph will molt several times until it finally enters the imago or adult phase.
Just like cockroaches, grasshoppers also only go through three phases of metamorphosis namely the egg phase, the nymph phase, then immediately enter the imago phase. During the summer, the female locust will produce between 10 and 300 eggs. They then deposit their eggs on sand or plants, and begin to hatch as nymphs about 10 months later.
Despite having a similar appearance to adult grasshoppers, these nymphs do not yet have wings or reproductive organs. The two organs will only appear 30 days later, after the nymph changes her skin several times and finally becomes an adult.
This one insect definitely sounds so foreign to our ears. It’s understandable, earwig or what in Indonesian is called cocopet does not live in Indonesia and is only found in Africa, New Zealand, America, Eurasia and Australia.
During the day, earwigs will hide in the crevices of plants and only start actively searching for food when it gets dark. This one insect will jump from one plant to another quickly to find food such as mosquitoes, flies, or other small animals that it finds.
The life of an earwig begins as an egg. An earwig mother can produce as many as 80 eggs. To protect the eggs from predators, the earwig mother will deposit them in a narrow, hidden tree hole.
After several weeks, the earwig eggs will hatch as nymphs. Gradually, these little nymphs will grow in size, changing their skin, before finally becoming an adult earwig.
Just like earwigs, dragonflies are also included in the ranks of animals that experience imperfect metamorphosis. Unlike other animals, dragonflies go through a larval stage before turning into nymphs. The female will deposit dragonfly eggs that are slightly oval in shape in fast-flowing water such as rivers.
At the age of three weeks, dragonfly eggs will hatch into vicious all-eating larvae. They will usually prey on small fish, worms, and other small aquatic animals. After eating enough, dragonfly larvae will turn into nymphs and grow as dragonflies imago.
Apart from earwigs, ladybugs also sound quite foreign to our ears. Ladybugs are part of the hemiptera family . Incredibly, a female ladybug can produce up to 1000 eggs in just one breeding season. Unfortunately not all eggs are lucky.
The reason is that out of 1,000 eggs, many of them end up being a predatory animal’s lunch menu. Ladybug eggs are usually laid in leaves, and will hatch after one week of age.
Just like dragonflies, ladybug eggs hatch as larvae, and experience a change of skin. Uniquely ladybugs go through the pupa phase and come out as adult ladybugs. The only phase they don’t go through is the nymph phase, and that’s why the metamorphosis of ladybugs can’t be called complete.
Compared to other animals on this list, crickets are the fastest animals in completing their metamorphosis process. In one breeding season, female crickets can produce about 500 eggs. Cricket eggs only take about two or three days to hatch.
After hatching, they will live life as nymphs for 40 days, and grow into adult crickets in another 40 days. So in total, crickets only take 83 days to grow up and reproduce. Sadly, their rapid growth makes the life of the crickets very short.
Female crickets generally live for 3 months or more to lay eggs, but male crickets live less than 3 months or die shortly after they mate.
Unlike humans who are born with perfect organs and body parts, some animals are born full of certain deficiencies such as not having wings, not having reproductive organs, not even having legs. As a result, to overcome them, they must undergo a process of metamorphosis.
Keep in mind that each animal takes a different amount of time to complete their entire metamorphosis process. There are animals that can metamorphose within a few days, but the majority of them need several weeks to transform.
Generally, animals that undergo incomplete metamorphosis will only go through three phases, namely egg, nymph, then imago. However, some animals such as ladybugs and dragonflies must go through four phases, both the larval and pupal phases.
Sinaumed’s, if you are one of those people who are interested in the world of animals and all things animal, you can really stop by www.sinaumedia.com. Here, you will find many interesting books that discuss the lives of animals, be it mammals, insects, or even extreme animals that you didn’t know about before. As #FriendsWithoutLimits, we will always give the best for you!
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