Swarms of mayflies maximize reproductive chances by emerging according to lunar patterns.
"In the mayfly (Povilla adusta), a distinct lunar-based pattern of adult emergence and swarming has been documented. Dr. R. Hartland-Rowe's studies of 22 Ugandan swarms observed between March 1953 and April 1955 at Kaazi, Jinja, and Lake Albert revealed that these swarms appeared within five days of the full moon, with most of them occuring on the second night after full moon. On three separate occasions, swarms were recorded simultaneously at locations roughly 120 miles (75 km) apart. Adult mayflies live only for a few hours, so the purpose of this swarming synchronicity is presumably to bring the two sexes together in order to maximize mating prospects before they die." (Shuker 2001:95)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Shuker, KPN. 2001. The Hidden Powers of Animals: Uncovering the Secrets of Nature. London: Marshall Editions Ltd. 240 p.
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