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Naiad (biology)

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Naiad (biology)


In biology, a nymph is the immature form of some invertebrates, particularly insects, which undergoes gradual metamorphosis (hemimetabolism) before reaching its adult stage.[1] Unlike a typical larva, a nymph's overall form already resembles that of the adult. In addition, while a nymph moults it never enters a pupal stage. Instead, the final moult results in an adult insect.[2] Nymphs undergo multiple stages of development called instars.

This is the case, for example, in Orthoptera (crickets and grasshoppers), Hemiptera (cicadas, shield bugs, etc.), mayflies, termites, cockroaches, mantids, and Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies). Some arachnids (e.g., mites and ticks) also have nymphs.

Nymphs of aquatic insects, as in the orders Odonata (dragonflies and damselflies), Ephemeroptera (mayflies), and Plecoptera (stoneflies) are also called naiads, which is an Ancient Greek name for mythological water nymphs. In older literature, these were sometimes referred to as the heterometabolous insects, as their adult and immature stages live in different environments (terrestrial vs. aquatic).

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