Mayfly Facts

Mayfly Facts
Mayfly, also known as shadfly, is type of aquatic insect that belongs to the order Ephemeroptera (dragonflies and damselflies are its closest relatives). There are 2.500 species of mayfly that can be found all over the world. Mayflies are an ancient group of insects that appeared on the planet 350 million years ago (before the dinosaurs). They can be found under the rocks, decaying plants and sediments in the rivers, streams, ponds and lakes. Major threats for the survival of mayflies in the wild are habitat loss, pollution of the water and climate changes. Several species of mayfly are classified as threatened or endangered.
Interesting Mayfly Facts:
Mayfly can reach 0.5 to 1 inch in length.
Most species of mayfly are green-colored.
Mayfly has large, compound eyes, short, flexible antennas, elongated, narrow body, two or three long tails and two pairs of membranous wings. First pair of wings is much larger than the second pair. Wings are kept upright (above the body) when they are not in use.
Both males and females have two sets of genitals. Females have two sexual openings, while males have two penis-like organs. Males also have larger eyes than females to ease detection of mating partners during the brief breeding season.
Mayflies consume algae during the larval stage. Adults do not have functional mouths and they do not eat.
Mayflies are important source of food for the trout, bass, catfish, frogs, newts and birds.
Mayfly undergoes three developmental stages: egg, naiad (larva) and adult.
Female lays thousands of eggs on the surface of the water. They sink to the bottom and usually hatch month and a half later.
Larval stage (naiad) may last few months to 3 years and it takes place under the water. Larvae have elongated, slightly flattened, cylindrical body and robust legs covered with hairs, bristles or spines. They have gills that are used for breathing.
Adult mayflies emerge from the ponds, lakes and streams from spring to autumn (only few species hatch during the May).
Mayflies have unique, transitional stage, called subimago. Fully winged, terrestrial mayflies in the subimago phase need to undergo one last molting session to reach sexual maturity and become ready to mate.
Mayflies are best known for their extremely short lifespan. Adults live from few minutes to few days. Their only purpose is to reproduce and they die as soon as they complete this mission.
Billions of mayflies can be seen on the lake in the Primorye province is Russia each year. They mate, spawn and die in a single day.
Mayflies are indicators of the pollution of the water (they can survive only in the clean waters).
Mayflies are often used as models for the creation of artificial flies for fly fishing (they are used to attract trout).

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