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In biology, a nymph is the immature form of some invertebrates, particularly insects, which undergoes gradual metamorphosis (hemimetabolism) before reaching its adult stage. 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. 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).
In fishing with artificial flies this stage of aquatic insects is the basis for an entire series of representative patterns for trout. They account for over half of the over all patterns regularly fished in the United States.
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- Encyclopedia of Entomology Ed. John L. Capinera. Dordrecht, London, Springer. 2008, 2nd Ed. ISBN 978-1-4020-6242-1 (Print) 978-1-4020-6359-6 (Online)
- Truman, James (1999). The origins of insect metamorphosis. Washington: Macmillan Magazines Ltd. p. 447.
- austin, matthew (2004). "nymph patterns of flies". sandiego: theflystop.com Ltd.
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