Metamorphosis

Complete Metamorphosis VS Incomplete Metamorphosis

What is Metamorphosis??

A change of the form or nature of a thing or person into a completely different one, by natural or supernatural means.


In Biology, animals with metamorphosis undergo abrupt and conspicuous changes of body forms via cell growth and differentiation. Most of the insects, amphibians, and many invertebrates undergo metamorphosis. However, these animals show two types of metamorphosis known as incomplete metamorphosis and complete metamorphosis. It does not mean that one species can show both these two types, but it does mean that certain species undergo incomplete metamorphosis while others undergo complete metamorphosis.

Complete Metamorphosis

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Incomplete Metamorphosis

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Complete Metamorphosis VS Incomplete Metamorphosis

Complete metamorphosis has FOUR stages: Egg, Larva, Pupa, and Adult. In each stage of complete metamorphosis, the animal looks different than the other stages. The larvae eat constantly and grow rapidly and can be worm-like. In the pupa stage, a hard, protective case forms around the larva. Examples of animals that go through complete metamorphosis are butterflies, ants, silkworms, and ladybugs.


Incomplete metamorphosis has only THREE stages: Egg, Nymph, and Adult. In each stage of incomplete metamorphosis, the animal looks the same throughout. The nymph looks like a smaller version of the adult. Instead of going into the pupa stage and forming a protective outer layer, the nymph grows into an adult by shedding its outer layers, or its exoskeleton. This will happen many times until the insect/animal is the size of an adult. Once wings develop, the nymph will become an adult and will not longer shed its outer shell/layers. Examples of animals that go through incomplete metamorphosis are crickets, grasshoppers, cockroaches, and praying mantis.

What similar about complete and incomplete metamorphosis?

Animals that go through complete or incomplete metamorphosis change in shape. The animals also change in size and get bigger. Both complete and incomplete metamorphosis has stages. All animals that go through metamorphosis start from an egg and end as an adult.