16 February 2014


Mayflies belong to the insect Order Ephemeroptera. The name refers to the adult's ephemeral lifespan, which is measured at most in days — sometimes as little as a few hours. Living longer would be difficult because the adults have vestigial mouthparts, meaning they can't feed. They're unique in being the only insects to have two flying stages: the subadult and adult.

Those crazy-looking orange turban-like things are the upper part of the eyes. This differentiation of the eyes into upper and lower parts is present only in the males.

This individual was sitting on a lemonwood leaf near the edge of the terrace, several hundred metres from the nearest stream. I suspect he had a lousy Valentine's day.

[14 February 2014, Olympus OM-D EM-1, 60 mm f2.8 Macro , ISO 400, 1/200 at f7.1]

All content © 2014 Pete McGregor


Elephant's Child said...

Your insect macros are ALWAYS a delight. Thank you.

pohanginapete said...

Thank you, EC :^)

Anonymous said...

Your commentary made me smile. As always stunning capture! Maureen

Relatively Retiring said...

How can this make any biological sense, that such a complex creature can only exist for such a brief time?
Yet another wonderful portrait.

pohanginapete said...

Maureen, thanks. Glad you enjoyed it.

RR, it's the larval stages that occupy most of the life history; all the adults need to do is reproduce. I agree, though — it seems somehow wrong, somehow wasteful. On the other hand, perhaps something so ephemeral deserves even greater respect and admiration?

Zhoen said...

Reminds me of the David Ives one act play, Time Flies.

Sounds like a great way to be very adaptable. Each generation a new variation, when conditions are extremely changable.

pohanginapete said...

Zhoen — a play about mayflies? Wonderful!