So, here are the facts:
- There are 51 species of Mayfly in Britain. Some examples of Mayfly families are: Spiny Crawler Mayflies (about 90 species in the world) and Leptohyphidae (about 140 species of these in the world.
- They have large compound eyes, two wings, six legs and long, slender tails. Some have what look like streamers (called filaments), such as the one in the photo.
- Their name is misleading as they are not only present in May but through all of the year as well.
- Some species of Mayfly are called the Dayfly because, unbelievably, they only live for a few hours as an adult, however, a few species live for longer, weeks and, sometimes, even years!
- They start life as an egg on a river bed and they hatch into a 'nymph' (other people obviously think they look like fairies!).
- The Nymphs feed on vegetable matter before emerging out of the water after anything up to two long years! Adults don't feed at all and have functionless mouth-parts.
- The Adults fly to the river bank where they moult and then fly back to the water to perform their mating dances as they only have a number of hours to live, they must find a mate.
- Once they have mated, the Males immediately die. The Females then lay their eggs in the water, then they die to.
- Mayflies are one of the oldest winged living species with fossil records dating back over 300,000,000 years! Otherwise known as 300 million years, long before the dinosaurs.
- The Larvae and Adults are a vital source of food for many other creatures such as fish and, as we witnessed, birds.
- Their Latin name (Ephemeroptera) means Short Lived wing. Ephemeros means short-lived and pteron means wing.
- As they appear at the same time as the Hawthorn blooms the Hawthorn once called the May Flower.
Here are some links to some more information:
Hope you enjoyed,