Mayfly (Ephemeroptera) | Characteristics, Habitats & Amazing Facts

Name - Mayfly

Scientific Name : Ephemeroptera

Type : Insects

Diet : herbivores or detritivores

Physical Characteristics:

Colour : have dark, dull-colored bodies and pale wings, typically yellow, gray or even clear.

Skin Type : exoskeletons(shed skin)

Lifespan : 5 minutes to 2 days

Current Population : Millions

Location : Worldwide

Number Of Species :  3000


Main Prey : stoneflies, caddisflies, alderflies, dragonflies, water beetles, leeches, triclads, and crayfishes 

Habitat : around freshwater wetlands, from fast-flowing rivers to still lakes, where the larvae spend their lives underwater.

Favourite Food :  algae and plants.

Amazing Facts

  • Other common names for the winged phases include Shadow, Sandfly, Dayfly, Fish Fly, and Drake. Water immature stage, called nymph or naiad.
  • The winged phases draw attention by mass-emergence as they can make the roads slippery, clog the gutters, and stain the air with the smell of decay.
  • Their membranous wings have a broad, triangular front pair and a slightly smaller, rounded back pair. In a few species, the hind pair is very small or missing.
  • The body of the nymph ends in three, less commonly two, slender tails. Adult mayfly of North American species vary in body length, excluding fins, from 2.5 mm (0.1 inch) for Caenis to 32 mm (more than 1 inch) for Hexagenia.
  • The life cycle of the mayfly consists of four stages: foetus, nymph, sub-imago, and imago. Eggs, which vary greatly in size and surface detail, can be oblong, oval, or round. Depending on the species, a female can produce less than 50 or more than 10,000 eggs. The eggs are laid in water and either settle down to the bottom or cling to some submerged entity.
  • They typically hatch in about two weeks, but can under some circumstances experience a cycle of varying length in which there is no development.
  • The fossil record of the Pennsylvanian Subperiod (approximately 323.2 million to 298.9 million years ago) shows recognisable Mayflies, which seem to have been abundant during the Permian period (298.9 million to 252.2 million years ago).
  • Female mayfly typically live less than five minutes after the larva stage, while males may live for two days. But they’re not wasting a minute, spending the brief time mating and reproducing.
  • The average litter size for a mayfly is 1,000.

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