What Is A Mayfly

Filed under: Mayfly - 19 Jan 2012  | Spread the word !

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A mayfly is an insect which belongs to the order of Ephemeroptera and to an ancient group of insects called Palaeoptera. A mayfly is an aquatic insect that has an immature stage of one year lived in freshwater. After this period, the mayfly adults, depending on the species, live a few minutes or a few days. Because the lifespan of mayflies is so short, it often happens that they mature at once and, in the spring or in the fall, large groups can be seen everywhere around. During this time, mayflies are dancing around each other or rest with the whole group on any free surface they can find. In the whole world live about 2500 species of mayfly. 630 of them live in the North America.

A mayfly can be also named a dayfly, a shadfly, a Green Bay Fly, a lake fly, a fishfly, a midgee, a Canadian soldier or a jinx fly. The scientific classification of a mayfly includes the kingdom – Animalia, the phylum – Arthropoda, the class – Insecta, the subclass – Pterygota, the division – Palaeoptera, the superorder – Ephemeropteroldea and the order – Ephemeroptera. The word Ephemeroptera itself describes the attributes of a mayfly. The Greek ephemeros means short-lived and pteron means wing, so the word Ephemeroptera is a description for a fly with a short lifespan.

The conservation of different mayfly species is very important because until now there are already 4 North American species of mayfly that seem to be extinct. Among them, Pentagenia robusta and Ephemera compar. Pentagenia robusta was a mayfly that used to live along the Ohio River, close to Cincinnati. Since the 19th century nobody in the area spotted a Pentagenia robusta. Ephemera compar was from the foothills of Colorado, but in the last 50 years, no Ephemera compar was seen in Colorado. IUCN, also known as the International Union for Conservation of Nature has a red list where endangered species are listed, in order to be kept under observation. On this list is included even a mayfly species called Tasmanophlebi lacus-coerulei. This is a large lake mayfly from Australia that is considered to be vulnerable.

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