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, in zoology
larva, independent, immature animal that undergoes a profound change, or metamorphosis, to assume the typical adult form. Larvae occur in almost all of the animal phyla; because most are tiny or microscopic, they are rarely seen. They play diverse roles in the lives of animals. Motile larvae help to disseminate sessile, or sedentary, animals such as sponges, oysters, barnacles, or scale insects. Larvae of parasites may be dispersed by penetrating the skin of new hosts; other parasite larvae live in intermediate hosts that are normally eaten by the final host, in which the adult parasites develop. The larvae of other parasites live in and are dispersed by intermediate hosts such as mosquitoes, gnats, or leeches; when the blood meals are taken from the final host, the parasite larvae are introduced into the blood or skin. Parasitic infections can often be reduced by eliminating the larval hosts.

Vertebrate Larvae

Among vertebrates a number of fishes pass through larval stages; the larva of the eel is interesting because it is flat and transparent. The tadpole, the familiar larva of the amphibian, develops to a considerable size in the relatively hospitable aquatic environment before metamorphosis prepares it for an amphibious or terrestrial life as a frog or toad.

Insect Larvae

In some animals, especially insects, larvae represent a special feeding stage in the life cycle. Some insects pass through more or less wormlike larval stages, enter the outwardly inactive, or pupal, form, and emerge from the pupal case as adults (see pupa). The importance of larvae in the life cycle of insects varies greatly, as does the proportion of the life span spent in larval, pupal, and adult stages. In many insects, the adult life is relatively short, consisting mostly of mating and egg laying, while the larvae live for many months or, in some species, for several years. Insect larvae feed voraciously, necessarily becoming larger than the adult, as considerable energy and material are needed for the profound changes made during pupation. For this reason, insect larvae often cause far more damage to stored crops and textiles than adult insects.

Insect larvae generally have a thinner exoskeleton than the adult; many are white and soft. The characteristic fly larvae are maggots, often developing in decaying plant or animal material. Mosquito larvae are the familiar aquatic wrigglers; they breathe air and are killed by a thin film of oil on the water that prevents contact with air. Maggots and wrigglers are legless, as are all larvae of the insect order Diptera. Beetle larvae, including the whitish forms called grubs and the long brownish wireworms, are quite diverse, but all are equipped with the six legs characteristic of adults. Moths and butterflies have wormlike caterpillars as larvae, each equipped with the six legs characteristic of adults and false legs known as prolegs to support the long abdominal section. Some, like the milkweed worm (the larva of the monarch butterfly), are relatively naked, while other caterpillars are covered by hairy bristles, sometimes equipped with irritating chemicals that can cause intense itching. The young of the social insects (bees, ants, wasps, and termites) are legless but otherwise grublike. Although all social-insect larvae are ultimately dependent on the parent colony for food, they are considered true larvae because they pass through a pupal stage.

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(invertebrate zoology)
The larva of certain insects; commonly used in reference to beetles.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


To clear a site by removing roots, stumps, and the like.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction. Copyright © 2003 by McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.


the short legless larva of certain insects, esp beetles
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


(GRand Unified Bootloader) A program that calls a Unix/Linux operating system into memory. Officially GNU GRUB, GRUB is a popular boot loader due to its flexibility and configuration capabilities, allowing changes to be made at boot time and support for boot images from the network. See GNU and boot loader.
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References in classic literature ?
'"It was the echoes," said Gabriel Grub, raising the bottle to his lips again.
He was sitting perfectly still; his tongue was put out, as if in derision; and he was grinning at Gabriel Grub with such a grin as only a goblin could call up.
'Gabriel Grub was paralysed, and could make no reply.
'"I came to dig a grave, Sir," stammered Gabriel Grub.
'"Gabriel Grub! Gabriel Grub!" screamed a wild chorus of voices that seemed to fill the churchyard.
'"Gabriel Grub! Gabriel Grub!" exclaimed the wild voices again.
'To this inquiry the invisible chorus replied, in a strain that sounded like the voices of many choristers singing to the mighty swell of the old church organ--a strain that seemed borne to the sexton's ears upon a wild wind, and to die away as it passed onward; but the burden of the reply was still the same, "Gabriel Grub! Gabriel Grub!"
'Again the mysterious voices replied, "Gabriel Grub! Gabriel Grub!"
'"Leave us!" said the goblin, "Gabriel Grub going to leave us.
'When Gabriel Grub had had time to fetch his breath, which the rapidity of his descent had for the moment taken away, he found himself in what appeared to be a large cavern, surrounded on all sides by crowds of goblins, ugly and grim; in the centre of the room, on an elevated seat, was stationed his friend of the churchyard; and close behind him stood Gabriel Grub himself, without power of motion.
'At this command, half a dozen officious goblins, with a perpetual smile upon their faces, whom Gabriel Grub imagined to be courtiers, on that account, hastily disappeared, and presently returned with a goblet of liquid fire, which they presented to the king.
'"What do you think of THAT?" said the goblin, turning his large face towards Gabriel Grub.