Order: Ephemeroptera


Description: Despite their name, mayflies are active during the warmer months of the year (not just May). They tend to be grayish, yellowish or brownish and have long, thin abdomens. Mayfly larvae are aquatic and found in nearly all types of water bodies, from streams to lakes. The larvae is often used as a bioindicator species to measure health of the water.

Size: Varying in size but ¼” to 1 1/8”

Diet: The mayfly larvae feed on detritus and other plant materials. Some may feed on insects. The adults do not feed.

Typical Lifespan: Adults will live only a day or so but the aquatic larvae lives for about a year.

Habitat: Most of the nymphs develop in streams and rivers that are relatively clean.

Range: They are found throughout North America and worldwide.

Life History and Reproduction: Mayflies spend most of their lives in the water as nymphs and then emerge as adults for only a short while. It is there that they mate and the female deposits eggs in the water.

Fun Fact: There are over 600 species of mayfly in the United States and 3,000 worldwide.

Conservation Status: Their status is unknown.


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