The larvae of insects include leather jackets, maggots, grubs and nymphs.
The larval stages of invertebrates vary greatly in form although they are always wingless and tend to be soft bodied and pale or cream in colour. Legs may be absent, reduced or well formed.
The length of their life cycle depends on the group of insects they belong to and also on temperature and the quality of available food. Prolific species including some flies can complete a life cycle in just under two weeks. However, some caterpillars and beetles that feed on dead wood can take five years or more to complete a full cycle.
Number of UK species: about 27,000
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