Incomplete metamorphosis is one of the many types of metamorphosis where an insect hatches from an egg and then goes through several nymphal stages. With each nymphal stage, it seems as if the insect is a small version of the adult, gradually getting slightly bigger with age.
At the final nymphal stage, the insect reaches the adult form and is often only distinguishable from the younger nymph by the size and the presence of its wings and the functionality of its reproductive organs.
Incomplete metamorphosis is also known as paurometabolism, hemimetabolism, or hemimetaboly. In this metamorphic development, the insect doesn’t go through the pupal stage. Instead it goes through the egg, nymph, and the adult stage, or imago stages.
While in incomplete metamorphosis, the insect gradually develops from the nymph to an adult with wings, whereas complete metamorphosis is a slightly different morphing process. In the complete metamorphosis process, the insect develops through the stages of egg, larva, pupa, and adult. During complete metamorphic development, the larva is usually different in form from the adult.
Another type of metamorphic process is the simple metamorphosis process. This is where the insect passes through the initial stages of an egg to a nymph, and then develops into an adult. Usually in this development the nymph resembles the adult from the beginning.