Overview

Brief Summary

In the Netherlands, there are at least 59 species of mayflies. The mayfly lives in fresh water as larvae (nymph). In the spring, it crawls out of the water and together they form large swarms of millions of flies. Because mayflies often only live from a few hours to a maximum of a couple of weeks, they have no mouth. The only thing that an adult mayfly is concerned about is reproducing.
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Ecology

Associations

Animal / carrion / dead animal feeder
Chytriomyces aureus feeds on dead exxuvia of Ephemeroptera

In Great Britain and/or Ireland:
Animal / predator / stocks nest with
female of Crossocerus walkeri stocks nest with Ephemeroptera

Animal / parasite / endoparasite
cyst of Dolichosaccus rastellus endoparasitises nymph of Ephemeroptera

Animal / parasite / endoparasite
cyst of Opisthioglyphe ranae endoparasitises nymph of Ephemeroptera

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Known predators

Ephemeroptera (other ephemeropteran nymphs) is prey of:
roach
Salvelinus fontinalis
Gammarus pulex
Perla carlukiana
Polycentropus flavomaculatus
Salmo salar

Based on studies in:
England, River Cam (River)
Canada: Ontario (River)
Wales, Dee River (River)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • P. H. T. Hartley, Food and feeding relationships in a community of fresh-water fishes, J. Anim. Ecol. 17(1):1-14, from p. 12 (1948).
  • R. M. Badcock, 1949. Studies in stream life in tributaries of the Welsh Dee. J. Anim. Ecol. 18:193-208, from pp. 202-206 and Price, P. W., 1984, Insect Ecology, 2nd ed., New York: John Wiley, p. 23
  • W. E. Ricker, 1934. An ecological classification of certain Ontario streams. Univ. Toronto Studies, Biol. Serv. 37, Publ. Ontario Fish. Res. Lab. 49:7-114, from pp. 105-106.
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Known prey organisms

Ephemeroptera (other ephemeropteran nymphs) preys on:
plant fragments
Bacillariophyceae
Coscinodiscus
Synedra
plant tissue
detritus

Based on studies in:
England, River Cam (River)
Wales, Dee River (River)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • P. H. T. Hartley, Food and feeding relationships in a community of fresh-water fishes, J. Anim. Ecol. 17(1):1-14, from p. 12 (1948).
  • R. M. Badcock, 1949. Studies in stream life in tributaries of the Welsh Dee. J. Anim. Ecol. 18:193-208, from pp. 202-206 and Price, P. W., 1984, Insect Ecology, 2nd ed., New York: John Wiley, p. 23
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Evolution and Systematics

Functional Adaptations

Functional adaptation

Cyclical emergence optimizes reproduction: mayfly
 

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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Functional adaptation

Shield and spoilers decrease lift in water: mayfly
 

Body of Ecdyonurus (mayfly) larvae decreases lift in flowing water by having a lowered head shield position and using its lower leg segments (femora) as spoilers.

     
  "Not only does flow separate above a flattened animal, but it is also much more complex than was first thought. Flow separation reduces lift, but at a cost of increased drag which, however, is a price that may well be worth paying to stay attached. For the heptageniid larvae, certain features of its body design may in fact lead to negative lift in flowing water. This is accomplished by lowering its head shield and by using its femora as spoilers (Weissenberger et at. 1991) (Fig. 5.3)." (Giller and Malmqvist 1998:112)
  Learn more about this functional adaptation.
  • Giller, P. S.; Malmqvist, B. 1998. The Biology of Streams and Rivers. Oxford University Press, USA.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:23633
Specimens with Sequences:19148
Specimens with Barcodes:17311
Species:1360
Species With Barcodes:1225
Public Records:15461
Public Species:695
Public BINs:1470
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Barcode data

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