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larva

[lahr-vuh] /ˈlɑr və/
noun, plural larvae
[lahr-vee] /ˈlɑr vi/ (Show IPA)
1.
Entomology. the immature, wingless, feeding stage of an insect that undergoes complete metamorphosis.
2.
any animal in an analogous immature form.
3.
the young of any invertebrate animal.
4.
larvae, Roman Antiquity. malignant ghosts, as lemures.
Origin
1645-1655
1645-55; < Neo-Latin; special use of Latin larva a ghost, specter, mask, skeleton; akin to Lares
Can be confused
larva, lava.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples from the web for larvae
  • They are also the largest of the mole salamanders, and have very large larvae.
  • The workers also guard the nest and collect nectar and arthropods to feed the larvae.
British Dictionary definitions for larvae

larva

/ˈlɑːvə/
noun (pl) -vae (-viː)
1.
an immature free-living form of many animals that develops into a different adult form by metamorphosis
Derived Forms
larval, adjective
Word Origin
C18: (C17 in the original Latin sense: ghost): New Latin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for larvae
n.

plural of larva (q.v.).

larva

n.

1650s, "a ghost, specter," from Latin larva (plural larvae), earlier larua "ghost," also "mask;" applied in biological sense 1768 by Linnaeus because immature forms of insects "mask" the adult forms. On the double sense of the Latin word, Carlo Ginzburg, among other students of mythology and folklore, has commented on "the well-nigh universal association between masks and the spirits of the dead."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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larvae in Medicine

larva lar·va (lär'və)
n. pl. lar·vas or lar·vae (-vē)

  1. The newly hatched, wingless, often wormlike form of many insects before metamorphosis.

  2. The newly hatched, earliest stage of any of various animals that undergo metamorphosis, differing markedly in form and appearance from the adult.


lar'val adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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larvae in Science
larva
  (lär'və)   
Plural larvae (lär'vē) or larvas
  1. An animal in an early stage of development that differs greatly in appearance from its adult stage. Larvae are adapted to a different environment and way of life from those of adults and go through a process of metamorphosis in changing to adults. Tadpoles are the larvae of frogs and toads.

  2. The immature, wingless, and usually wormlike feeding form of those insects that undergo three stages of metamorphosis, such as butterflies, moths, and beetles. Insect larvae hatch from eggs, later turn into pupae, and finally turn into adults. Compare imago, nymph, pupa.


The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for larvae

Larvae

in Roman religion, wicked and fearsome spectres of the dead. Appearing in grotesque and terrifying forms, they were said to haunt their living relatives and cause them injury. To propitiate these ghosts and keep them from the household, ritual observances called Lemuria were held yearly on May 9, 11, and 13. These Lemuria, reputedly instituted by Romulus in expiation of his brother's murder, required the father of every family to rise at midnight, purify his hands, toss black beans for the spirits to gather, and recite entreaties for the spirits' departure.

Learn more about Larvae with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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9
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