AskDefine | Define larva

Dictionary Definition

larva n : the immature free-living form of most invertebrates and amphibians and fish which at hatching from the egg is fundamentally unlike its parent and must metamorphose [also: larvae (pl)]

User Contributed Dictionary



From Latin larva (ghost-like, masked).



  • lava (in non-rhotic accents)


  1. A stage of growth for some insects, in which they are wingless and resemble a caterpillar or grub after hatching from their egg
  2. An animal in the aforementioned stage.
  3. A form of a recently born or hatched animal that is quite different from its adult stage.

Usage notes

The incorrect plural larvas is somewhat common.


a stage of growth
an animal in such stage of growth
recently born or hatched



  • IPA: /ˈlaɹ.va/


larva plural of larvë (larva)



  1. larva, grub
  2. shadow, skeleton


Derived terms



larva, -ae
First declension
  1. evil spirit, demon, devil
  2. horrific mask



  1. definite singular of larve




Derived terms

Extensive Definition

A larva (Latin; plural larvae) is a juvenile form of animal with indirect development, undergoing metamorphosis (for example, insects or amphibians).
The larva can look completely different from the adult form, for example, a caterpillar differs from a butterfly. Larvae often have special (larval) organs which do not occur in the adult form. The larvae of some species can become pubescent and not further develop into the adult form (for example, in some newts). This is a type of neoteny.
It is a misunderstanding that the larval form always reflects the group's evolutionary history. It could be the case, but often the larval stage has evolved secondarily, as in insects. In these cases the larval form might differ more from the group's common origin than the adult form.
The early life stages of most fish species are considerably different from juveniles and adults of their species and are called larvae.
Names of various kinds of larvae:
larva in Arabic: يرقة
larva in Bulgarian: Ларва
larva in Catalan: Larva
larva in Czech: Larva
larva in Danish: Larve
larva in German: Larve
larva in Spanish: Larva
larva in Esperanto: Larvo
larva in Persian: لارو
larva in French: Larve
larva in Galician: Larva
larva in Indonesian: Larva
larva in Italian: Larva
larva in Hebrew: פגית
larva in Lithuanian: Lerva
larva in Hungarian: Lárva
larva in Dutch: Larve
larva in Japanese: 幼虫
larva in Norwegian: Larve
larva in Occitan (post 1500): Baba
larva in Polish: Larwa
larva in Portuguese: Larva
larva in Quechua: Qirisa
larva in Russian: Личинка
larva in Simple English: Larva
larva in Slovak: Larva
larva in Serbian: Ларва
larva in Finnish: Toukka
larva in Swedish: Larv
larva in Vietnamese: Ấu trùng
larva in Turkish: Larva
larva in Ukrainian: Личинка
larva in Chinese: 幼虫

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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