The immature form of many insects and amphibians is a larva. A caterpillar is one example of a larva — it has hatched from an egg and will eventually become a fully mature butterfly.

You may picture a larva as a little grubby white bug, and in many cases you'd be correct. Many insects pass through a larval stage in which they resemble grubs — in fact, grubs are the larva of insects like June bugs and Japanese beetles. Other familiar larvae include tadpoles and maggots. The name, which means "evil spirit" or "terrifying mask" in Latin, comes from the idea that a larval insect's final form is hidden, or "masked."

Definitions of larva
  1. noun
    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
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    ascidian tadpole
    free-swimming larva of ascidians; they have a tail like a tadpole that contains the notochord
    bladder worm
    encysted saclike larva of the tapeworm
    tadpole-shaped parasitic larva of a trematode worm; tail disappears in adult stage
    wormlike larva of various elaterid beetles; feeds on roots of many crop plants
    the larva of beetles of the family Tenebrionidae
    wiggler, wriggler
    larva of a mosquito
    jointworm, strawworm
    larva of chalcid flies injurious to the straw of wheat and other grains
    ant lion, antlion, doodlebug
    the larva of any of several insects
    aphid lion, aphis lion
    carnivorous larva of lacewing flies
    dobson, hellgrammiate
    large brown aquatic larva of the dobsonfly; used as fishing bait
    insect larva that constructs a protective case around its body
    a wormlike and often brightly colored and hairy or spiny larva of a butterfly or moth
    a larva of an insect with incomplete metamorphosis (as the dragonfly or mayfly)
    slender transparent larva of eels and certain fishes
    botfly larva; typically develops inside the body of a horse or sheep or human
    a soft thick wormlike larva of certain beetles and other insects
    polliwog, pollywog, tadpole
    a larval frog or toad
    caddisworm, strawworm
    larva of the caddis fly; constructs a case of silk covered with sand or plant debris
    tussock caterpillar
    larva of a tussock moth
    green caterpillar of a geometrid moth; pest of various fruit and shade trees
    inchworm, looper, measuring worm
    small hairless caterpillar having legs on only its front and rear segments; mostly larvae of moths of the family Geometridae
    Phthorimaea operculella, potato tuberworm
    larva of potato moth; mines in leaves and stems of e.g. potatoes and tobacco
    North American moth whose larvae feed on young plant stems cutting them off at the ground
    Pseudaletia unipuncta, army worm, armyworm
    noctuid moth larvae that travel in multitudes destroying especially grass and grain
    Spodoptera exigua, beet armyworm
    moth larva that eats foliage of beets and other vegetables
    Spodoptera frugiperda, fall armyworm
    larva of a migratory American noctuid moth; destroys grasses and small grains
    Manduca sexta, tobacco hornworm, tomato worm
    large green white-striped hawkmoth larva that feeds on tobacco and related plants; similar to tomato hornworm
    Manduca quinquemaculata, potato worm, tomato hornworm
    large green white-striped hawkmoth larva that feeds on tomato and potato plants; similar to tobacco hornworm
    the commercially bred hairless white caterpillar of the domestic silkworm moth which spins a cocoon that can be processed to yield silk fiber; the principal source of commercial silk
    giant silkworm, silkworm, wild wilkworm
    larva of a saturniid moth; spins a large amount of strong silk in constructing its cocoon
    tent caterpillar
    the larvae of moths that build and live in communal silken webs in orchard and shade trees
    lappet caterpillar
    larva of a lappet moth
    several gregarious moth larvae that spin webs over foliage on which they feed
    Pyrausta nubilalis, corn borer
    larva of the European corn borer moth; a serious pest of maize
    any of various moth caterpillars that destroy cotton bolls
    Pieris rapae, cabbageworm
    toxic green larva of a cabbage butterfly
    woolly bear, woolly bear caterpillar
    caterpillar of numerous moths characterized by a dense coat of woolly hairs; feed on plants and some are destructive pests
    the larva of the housefly and blowfly commonly found in decaying organic matter
    tough-skinned larva of certain crane flies
    type of:
    animal, animate being, beast, brute, creature, fauna
    a living organism characterized by voluntary movement
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