Debunking A Myth – The Mayfly Is Not Actually A May Fly

Filed under: Mayfly - 13 Feb 2012  | Spread the word !

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The mayfly has a rather misleading name and many people think because of its name that the mayfly is a fly that only appears in May. Well, this is a myth, but not many know about it. The name of the mayfly has not really much to do with the actual month of the year. The name of the mayfly is inspired only by a certain species of mayfly that appeared in the same time when a flower named Mayflower or Hawthorn is in bloom. So, “Ephemera danica” inspired the generic name of the mayfly, but without anything of the characteristics it has to tie her to the month of May. Even if the name is misleading, an important information related to this bug is that many species only live for a day. It may come as a surprise, but mostly mayflies do not have enough time to live for a whole month of May.

Disappointing or not, the mayfly has nothing to do with the month. Actually, the first generic name that was proposed for this insect was “dayfly”, as most live just for a day. Because there are also several species that have a different lifespan than the vast majority, specialists finally went for mayfly. And so, the misconception that the mayfly only appears in the month of May was born among people who are not passionate about these flies or among those who are not interested to learn more on this topic.

Although the mayfly is a very interesting species and specialists are fascinated with it, regular people do not have very much information about it. This is why most of them think that mayfly is a name given literally to this species, to describe it accurately. Many are disappointed when finding out that the mayfly is actually a name given to the insect because of the relation of it with a certain flower. Even so, things must be clear, the mayfly has its name due to a flower which blooms in the same time with the apparition of the bug. And actually, this is really a more interesting story for its name.

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