• It has been defined as an intermediate stage in the life history of Invertebrates and few lower chordates.
  • In class Insecta, larva signifies the reproductively immature stage which is determined for feeding and gathering energy for transformation into adult.
  • Class Insecta is a diverse category among the animal kingdom. Many of them vary in their mode of life especially in feeding.
  • Depending over this we have four categories of larvae –
    • Protopod
    • Apod
    • Oligopod
    • Polypod


  • A precocious larva showing few segmentation and lacks cephalic or thoracic appendages i.e. compound eyes, antennae, legs.
  • These are parasitic to other insects and lives in haemocoel, as it serves the suitable environment for survival.
  • Example- larvae of genus Platygaster.
Digrams: Protopod Larvae of genus Platygaster


  • Larvae provided with defined head but lacks true thoracic appendages, are termed as apod larvae.
  • They are also termed as vermiform owing to worm like appearance.
  • Apod larvae characteristically belongs to order Hymenoptera and Diptera.
  • Apod larvae further categories as follows-
    • Eucephalous
    • Hemicephalous
    • Acephalous


  • They have well sclerotized head capsule along with reduced cephalic appendages.
  • Example- Vespa orientalis (Red wasp)
Diagram: Eucephalous Larva


  • Head capsule and cephalic appendages are reduced and could be drawn back into thorax.
  • Example- Tabanus (Horse fly), Robber fly, Apis (Honeybee).
Diagram: Hemicephalous Larva


  • Sclerotized  head is absent.
  • Cephalic appendages may be drawn in thorax.
  • Example- larva of House Fly: MAGGOT (Acephalous larva of House fly is known as maggot).
Diagram: Acephalous Larva


  • Larvae provided with true thoracic legs and sclerotized head fall in this group.
  • These are further graded as:
    • Scarabaeiform
    • Campodeiform
    • Elateriform
    • Platyform

SCARABAEIFORM LARVAE– These are C-shape curled larvae and also termed as Grub. Example- Larvae of order Coleoptera.

Diagram: Scarabaeiformes Larva

CAMPODEIFORM LARVAE– Campodeiform itself defines the elongated, dorso-ventrally flattened body. These larvae have prognathus head, long thoracic appendages and abdominal cerci or caudal processes. Example- They are active predators found on order Trichoptera and Neuroptera. They resembles to the genus Compodea of order Diplura thus named so.

Diagram: Campodeiform Larva

Carabiform larvae– These are Campodeiform larvae that have thoracic appendages and abdominal cerci.

PLATYFORM LARVAE- Also termed as Onisciform larvae. Identified by broad and flattened body. Example- larvae of Bat flies.


  • Also termed Eruciform larvae. In addition to thoracic legs larva has stumpy prolegs( cleates suction grip over the surface) on abdominal segments.
  • Based upon presence of prolegs POLYPOD larvae categories as:
    • Caterpillar
    • Semilooper
    • Looper

CATERPILLAR – Polypod larva having 5pairs of prolegs on 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th and 10th abdominal segments. Example- Characteristically the larvae of order Lepidoptera.

Diagram: Caterpillar

SEMILOOPER – Polypod larva having 3 pairs of prolegs on 5th, 6th and 10th abdominal segments and form semi loop while moving. Example- Thysanoplusia orichalcea.

Diagram: Semilooper

LOOPER – Polypod larva having 2 pairs of prolegs on 6th and 10th abdominal segments and forms complete loop while moving.

Diagram: Looper

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