Nymph (biology)

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Nymph of the shield bug Caprocoris mediterraneus

In zoology, a nymph is the young stage of some kinds of invertebrates, especially insects.

Insects grow by metamorphosis. In incomplete metamorphosis, an insect egg hatches, and a small nymph comes out. The nymph usually looks just like the adult insect but is much smaller. Nymphs do not become pupae before becoming adults. They just grow larger. They moult through various stages called instars.

Some insects have nymphs that are aquatic, which means they live in water. These nymphs look very different from the adults. Dragonflies have nymphs that live in water, such as in lakes and rivers. Nymphs that live in water are sometimes called naiads.

The other way insects grow is by complete metamorphosis. This way has no nymphs. The adult form is prepared in the pupa, and comes out perfect.

Some insects that are nymphs when they are young are grasshoppers, cockroaches, true bugs and dragonflies.

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