- A nymph is a stage in the life cycle of certain arthropods, as ticks and lice. (Not all nymphs are in Greek mythology.) There are three stages in the life cycle of lice: the nit, the nymph, and the adult. The nymph stage comes between a nit and an adult louse. Nits are lice eggs. They are hard to see and are often confused with dandruff or hair spray droplets. Nits are found firmly attached to the hair shaft. They are oval and usually yellow to white. Nits take about a week to hatch. Nymphs are baby lice. The nit hatches into a nymph. It looks like an adult head louse, but is smaller. Nymphs mature into adults about 7 days after hatching. To live, the nymph must feed on blood. The adult louse is about the size of a sesame seed, has 6 legs, and is tan to greyish-white. In persons with dark hair, the adult louse looks darker. Females lay nits; they are usually larger than males. Adult lice can live up to 30 days on a person’s head. To live, adult lice need to feed on blood. If the louse falls off a person, it dies within 2 days. The word "nymph" is, not too surprisingly, from the Greek. A "nymphe" was "a maiden or bride" , and designated any marriageable female.
* * *1. The earliest series of stages in metamorphosis following hatching in the development of hemimetabolous insects ( e.g., locusts); the n. resembles the adult in many respects, but lacks full wing or genitalia development; it grows through successive instars without any intermediate or pupal stage into the imago or adult form. SEE ALSO: incomplete metamorphosis, complete metamorphosis. 2. The third stage in the life cycle of a tick, between the larva and the adult. [G. nymphe, maiden]
* * *1) any of various hemimetabolous insects in an immature stage and esp. a late larva (as of a true bug) in which rudiments of the wings and genitalia are present broadly any insect larva that differs chiefly in size and degree of differentiation from the imago2) a mite or tick in the first eight-legged form that immediately follows the last larval molt3) a nymphal stage in the life cycle of an insect or acarid
* * *n.1. an immature stage in the life history of certain insects, such as grasshoppers and reduviid bugs. On emerging from the eggs, nymphs resemble the adult insects except that they are smaller, do not have fully developed wings, and are not sexually mature.2. the late larval stage of a tick.
* * *(nimf) [Gr. nymphē a bride] a stage in the life cycle of certain arthropods, such as ticks, between the larva and the adult; it somewhat resembles the adult but is small, sexually immature, and wingless. Cf. naiad.
Medical dictionary. 2011.