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Definition of «Nymph»

Nymph: 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.

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