A global citizen science platform
to discover, share and identify wildlife
The name Ephemeroptera is derived from the Greek "ephemera" meaning short-lived, and "ptera" meaning wings. This is a reference to the short lifespan of most adult mayflies.
Rain Forest. South of Thailand.
Life History & Ecology The immature stages of mayflies are aquatic. They generally live in unpolluted habitats with fresh, flowing water. Some species are active swimmers, others are flattened and cling to the underside of stones, a few are burrowers who dig U-shaped tunnels in the sand or mud. Most species are herbivorous. Their diet consists primarily of algae and other aquatic plant life scavenged from surrounding habitat. Some species mature quickly, in as little as four weeks, while others develop more slowly (one to four years per generation). Once a mayfly completes development as a naiad, it leaves the aquatic environment, often rising to the water surface in a bubble of air. It quickly molts to a winged form (the subimago) and flies to a nearby leaf or stem. The subimago is a brief transitional stage that molts again into a sexually mature adult (imago). The imago usually has transparent wings and a smooth, shiny exoskeleton in contrast to the cloudy wings and dull, pubescent body of the subimago. Mayflies are the only living insects that molt again after they have wings. Most adults are delicate insects with a very short lifespan. They do not feed (mouthparts are vestigial), and some species emerge, reproduce, and die in a single day. Males generally fly in swarms that undulate in the air 5-15 meters above the ground. Females fly into the swarm and are quickly grabbed by a male. Copulation takes place in flight, and the female usually lays her clutch of eggs within minutes or hours. Males die shortly after mating; females usually die soon after oviposition. The name Ephemeroptera is derived from the Greek "ephemera" meaning short-lived, and "ptera" meaning wings. This is a reference to the short lifespan of most adult mayflies.