Life Cycle and Types of Nocturnal Insects

Some nocturnal insects include moths, fireflies, mosquitoes, crickets, grasshoppers and katydids. These insects lay eggs, and usually few people like them. Some of them like mosquitoes can cause health problems.  Fireflies are fun insects that children will like to find. Crickets fill the world with sound when temperatures are favorable.

Life cycle

All insects have a similar life cycle. Stages include egg, larvae, pupae, and adult. They have either a complete metamorphosis or an incomplete one. The difference is that in a complete metamorphosis the larvae look different than the adult. Incomplete metamorphosis means that the larvae look the same as the adults.


Moths are the first flying insects to appear at night. They come in a variety of grey and white colors. They come out in the warmer seasons of the year usually spring and summer. During the winter and fall months, the larvae are in cocoons or underground. Some moths make their pupae in leaves. It takes twelve weeks for their metamorphosis to occur. Moths are pollinators, though they do not eat the pollen. They distribute the pollen when they fly from flower to flower. The pollen sticks to their tongues. Moths do not eat because they do not have the body parts to eat. They only have a proboscis. Some of them are very large so the moth can reach the nectar. One moth has a tongue that is ten to thirteen inches long. Moths fly near lighted surfaces. A white sheet hung over a lighted window draws moths and other creatures of the night.


These insects are a type of beetle. They roam around on dark, still nights in humid areas. They are dependent on warm temperatures between 50F and 90F. Fireflies have bioluminescence. It allows them to flash their colors to find a mate or land in a dark place. Scientists call this area the “beetle’s lamp.” Beetles in the family Photuris have a green color. Photinus beetles have a yellow color. Pyractomen have an orange color. Scientists have discovered that flashes made by the beetles are coded messages. Flash patterns differ with location and temperature. Fireflies inhabit fields and meadows, separations between forests and meadows, wetlands and rural lawns. Fireflies have different schedules about when they emerge. Some only show their flashes for twenty minutes a night. Others stay up and flash all night. Some do not emerge until late at night; others come out as soon as the sun sets. Most adult fireflies do not eat but if they do they suck on grass, drink nectar or dewdrops.


Mosquitoes live near bodies of water. They bite humans and other mammals. They are bloodsuckers. Warm summer nights draw them out. They can cause diseases like malaria. They live in the humid tropics.


Grasshoppers, crickets and katydids emerge in late spring and summer. Temperature determines the sound that these insects make. These insects make music from late summer into early fall. Woodlands and grasslands are the preferred habitats for these insects. These insects have an incomplete metamorphosis. They only pass through three stages. An adult is only larger than its nymph.

Nocturnal insects fill the night with light and color as well as music. They are abundant when the temperatures are warm, and the nights are humid. They do not have a long life, and most only drink nectar or water.