holometabolous metamorphosis -->
complete metamorphosis
medical dictionary

Insect development from egg, through successive larval instars, pupa, and adult; the latter is distinct from the first two forms of the insect, permitting specialization of feeding (larval) and reproductive-flying functions (adult); characteristic of the higher insect orders, such as Coleoptera (beetles), Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, ants), Diptera (two-winged flies), and Siphonaptera (fleas).

Synonyms: holometabolous metamorphosis.

(05 Mar 2000)