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Free images -  Insects - Mayfly 

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Mayflies are insects that belong to the order Ephemeroptera.  The name originates from the Greek "ephemeros" being "short-lived" and "pteron" meaning "wing".  This is in reference to the short-lived adults of this order.  There are over 3,000 species, 614 of which are found in North America.  Mayflies are commonly called "shadeflies" by fishermen.

In their immature stage, mayfly "nymphs" live in fresh water and are important food sources for may species of fish, birds and invertebrates. The nymphs or naiads have flat, cylindrical bodies that pass through a number of stages (instars) of moulting - some up to 15 to 25 times.  They shed their last larval exoskeleton on the water surface or very nearby and emerge to a winged stage called a "subimago".

Mayflies are unique since they have two winged stages.  In the first winged stage (subimago) the mayfly is almost identical to its adult form (imagoes), but is usually duller in colour with cloudy wings.  At this stage, the mayfly is unable to reproduce. Depending upon the species, a submiago may moult into the adult within minutes, hours of 1-2 days.

Did you know...

Mayflies are the only insects where a winged form undergoes a further moult!?

 

 

Mayfly on pine tree.

Mayfly - 1
Hexagenia male with ultra long tail?

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Ephemeroptera Mayfly

Mayfly - 2

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What species is this?

The images 1 - 10 where photographed in mid June in northern Ontario.  I would appreciate help with species identification.  The pattern, size and colouring might suggest the Giant Mayfly, Hexagenia limbata, but that species is described as having an abdomen tipped with 2 filaments.  The images below clearly show one long and in some cases, three filaments.

The Coffinfly, Ephemera guttulata, is described as having an abdomen tipped with 3 filaments, but is described as having a whitish body with dark legs.

 

Ephemeroptera Mayfly

Mayfly - 3

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Three tailed Mayfly

Mayfly - 4

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Mayfly with long tail.

Mayfly - 5

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Insect Mayfly on tree.

Mayfly - 6

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Swarm of mayflies.

Mayfly - 7

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The mating of mayflies is a wonder to watch.  A courtship dance is performed where the male insects fly in an up and down pattern.  They stop flying for a moment and fall passively downward.  Female mayflies fly into these swarms and mating takes place in the air.  Photos 7 - 9 were taken in mid June in northern Ontario.  The courtship dances began at dusk and lasted about two hours.  

Females lay between 400 - 3,000 eggs, dropping or depositing them into the water where the eggs sink to the bottom to hatch.

 

Mayflies swarming courtship dance over lake.

Mayfly - 8

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Mayfly courtship dance at sunset.

Mayfly - 9

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Did you know...

Mayfly adults rarely live more than several days.  Many species emerge, molt, mate, lay eggs and die within 24 hours.  The Mayfly has come to symbolize how transitory and brief life is. 

The English poet George Crabbe compared the life of a newspaper with that of a Mayfly - both being known as "Ephemera" - things that live for a day. 

 

In shoals the hours their constant numbers bring,
Like insects waking to th' advancing spring;
Which take their rise from grubs obscene that lie
In shallow pools, or thence ascend the sky;
such are these base ephemeras, so born
To die before the next revolving morn.

~ George Crabbe - "The Newspaper" - 1785 ~

 

Did you know....

that mayflies are the models used to make artificial flies for fly fishing?

 

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If you'd like to drop me a note to let me know if any of these images have been useful, I'd love to hear from you. I'm curious to see if my snapshots have been of benefit to you in some way.  Also, I'd like to hear what kind of images you'd like to see more of. 

 

 


 

Are You Baffled 
by Bugs ?

Did you know...

That all insects are bugs, but not all bugs are insects!

 


"I dreamed
 I was a butterfly,
 flitting around 
in the sky; 
then I awoke.  
Now I wonder:  
Am I a man 
who dreamt 
of being a butterfly, 
or am I a butterfly
dreaming 
that I am a man?"

~ Chuang Tse ~
Chinese philosopher

 

Insects have 3 body parts:  a head, thorax and abdomen.  They also have six legs and two antennae.

Spiders and Scorpions have eight legs and are not considered insects!

 

According to some sources, the total number of insect species is somewhere between 15 and 30 million!

There are 900,000 known species in the world.

 

Insane About Insects ?

 

Did you know...

Scorpions can live for more than one year without eating!

 

Mosquitoes have 47 teeth, but only the female mosquitoe bites using it's proboscis.

Fireflies, sometimes called Lightningbugs, are not true bugs or flies.  They are beetles!

Every year, insects eat about one third of the world's food crops.

Only male crickets can chirp.  They will chirp faster in warm weather.  

Most insects hatch from eggs.

The average bed contains 2-6 million dust mites!

 

Are You An Enthusiastic
Entomologist ?

Did you know...

Every year, the average person eats several insects while sleeping.  

Insects breath through a complicated network of air tubes called tracheae that open along the sides of the insects body.

Nearly all insect growth involves metamorphosis.

The average housefly lives only two weeks!

A female ladybug lays about 1000 eggs in her lifetime.

Honeybees fly at a speed of 13-15 mph.

Even though spiders have eight eyes, they still can't see very well.

A cockroach can live up to 9 days without its head!

 

 

 

 

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