Sex on the Fly

February is the month of love.  And here at CURIOUStotheMAX love includes all God’s creatures as we are fascinated by this CURIOUS, WONDERFUL and WILD World we all share.  Marvel with us at the incredible lengths nature goes to help mayflies survive.

Mayflies have an curiously interesting life cycle. Adult mayflies have no mouths, don’t eat, only live for a few days and their only purpose is TO REPRODUCE.

Males swarm above the water in a thick colony while females fly into the colony to mate. The males hold onto the females and mate in air. (No, it’s not the mile-high club since they stay a bit closer to the ground.) After mating, females fly down to the surface of the water to lay eggs and die – usually devoured by hungry fish either before or after death. The males also die, though on land. 

Mayfly mating season-fish come to the surface looking for a tasty meal,

and fly fishers come looking for a tasty fish

The eggs fall to the bottom of the water where they land in mud and attach or stick onto stones or vegetation. The eggs remain in the mud for anywhere from a day to weeks before hatching. After hatching, the mayflies turn into their nymph stage (which you might attribute to teenage years). The mayfly nymphs are an aquatic life stage and do not have wings or contain gills.

Nyphs spend their time, anywhere from 1-2 years, searching for food in the relative safety of the lake bed bottom. When the time is right, the nymphs rise to the surface, molt and rest on the water’s surface to allow their wings to dry.  After drying, they fly onto land where they wait in the vegetation before they molt once more and become a more colorful specimen..

4 comments on “Sex on the Fly

  1. Ahhh another metamorphosis. I just finished a post about my own one. Very interesting to hear that this insect lives underwater during the nymph stage, or as you say “teenage” stage, haha. And then, changes gear entirely to becoming a flying insect. How unusual. I knew nothing about any of this, so thanks for the Biology education.

    Peta

    Like

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