Mayfly Ephemeroptera

Mayfly
Mayfly
Mayflies can be found through most of the summer months, and even spring/autumn, not just in May. The adults, shown here, live for a few hours to a few days, only to mate. Mayflies are not true flies, some having small or vestigial hind wings. Like Dragonflies, Mayfly larvae or nymphs are aquatic and live a year under water.
Mayfly
Mayfly
There are thousands of different species of Mayfly and some 50 different species in the UK.
Mayfly
Mayfly
Mayfly
Adult Mayflies have a two-pronged or, in some species, three-pronged, tail which is longer than the head and body.
Common Mayfly
Mayfly with 3 tailfilaments
The photos immediately above are of the Common or Greendrake Mayfly, Ephemera danica, the most common in the UK and one of the species with 3 tail filaments (usually, although the more russet-marked one on the left looks as if it has only 2). It also has spotted forewings and larger hind wings than most. My thanks to Martin Starnes for the photos of this species.
Mayfly
Mayfly
Mayfly
The long tail.
Mayfly
Mayfly
tailless Mayfly
Adult Mayflies don't eat at all, despite legacy mouthparts. Their larvae are a food source for fish and wading birds while the adults are an important food source for fish, young birds and dragonflies.
Mayfly
Mayfly
Mayfly
Mayflies are related to Dragonflies and Damselflies. Like Stoneflies and Caddisflies, two other groups of insects whose larvae are aquatic but adults are airborne, the prescence of Mayfly larvae is an indication of good water quality.