Juvenile (organism)

A juvenile is an individual organism that has not yet reached its adult form, sexual maturity or size. Juveniles can look very different from the adult form, particularly in colour, and may not fill the same niche as the adult form.[1] In many organisms the juvenile has a different name from the adult (see List of animal names).

Young wild boar suckling from an adult female. Here, juvenile colouring acts as a form of camouflage.
Juvenile (left) and adult (right) leaves of Stone Pine

Some organisms reach sexual maturity in a short metamorphosis, such as eclosion in many insects. For others, the transition from juvenile to fully mature is a more prolonged process—puberty in humans and other species, for example. In such cases, juveniles during this transformation are sometimes called subadults.

Many invertebrates, on reaching the adult stage, are fully mature and their development and growth stops. Their juveniles are larvae or nymphs.

In vertebrates and some invertebrates (e.g. spiders), larval forms (e.g. tadpoles) are usually considered a development stage of their own, and "juvenile" refers to a post-larval stage that is not fully grown and not sexually mature. In amniotes, the embryo represents the larval stage. Here, a "juvenile" is an individual in the time between hatching/birth/germination and reaching maturity.

Juvenile alligator found in Everglades

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