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Mayflies

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eggshaped
34815.  Sat Nov 26, 2005 8:59 am Reply with quote

Question: How long does a mayfly live for?

Forfiet: One Day

Answer: Up to 3 years,

While the mayfly will typically live as an adult for only one or two days, this is only the final moment of a life-cycle which lasts at least for at least a few months, but often up to three years.

After hatching, the mayfly lives underwater for the vast majority of its life, as a nymph, burrowing into sediments or hiding under rocks and grazing on bacteria. After many months in this stage, it will rise to the surface, to reach the subimago or “first flying stage”. At this point the mayfly empties its guts and fills this section with air; it will not need this for digestion when it reaches full adulthood because while a mayfly has mouthparts, they do not feed as an adult, instead using their final hours for mating.

In the final adult stage mating occurs, with huge swarms of males jockeying for position until a female enters the swarm and many males try to mate with her. The male mayfly has paired genital openings and during copulation, the two penes of the male are inserted simultaneously into the two openings of the female. Sperm is transferred quickly (there is no spermatophore) and eggs are fertilized immediately. Shortly after this the mayfly dies.

More Mayfly stuff:
The order to which Mayflies belong is Ephemeroptera meaning "but for a day wing”

The first mention of Mayflies occurs in The History of Animals (Book V) by Aristotle
Quote:
“On the river Hypanis in the Cimmerian Bosphorus, about the time of the summer solstice, there are brought down towards the sea by the stream what look like little sacks rather bigger than grapes, out of which at their bursting issues a winged quadruped. The insect lives and flies about until the evening, but as the sun goes down it pines away, and dies at sunset having lived just one day, from which circumstance it is called the ephemeron.”


Because they burrow into the sediment and filter particles for food, mayflies can ingest and store metals, such as mercury and cadmium and PCBs, which can then be passed along to creatures that eat them.

Due to the huge spontaneous emergence of Mayflies, locals in Papua New Guinea, collect the insects from the Sepik River to make Kungu Cakes.

The mayfly predates the dinosaurs, fossils have been found from over 300 million years ago.

Further ideas:

I’m not convinced about this question to be honest, whether it’s a bit too much of a trick to be a fair question.

Anyway, a possible way of wording the question could be:
“What animal has the shortest lifespan?”
“The Mayfly”
“Excellent, well done. And it lives for….”
“One day”
<forfeit>

Finally I’m looking for a decent source on the fact that Mayflies evolved short adulthoods in order to avoid predation, but am struggling to find anything on the web.

Sources:

http://www.uky.edu/Agriculture/CritterFiles/casefile/insects/mayflies/mayflies.htm
http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/arthropoda/uniramia/ephemeroptera.html
http://magma.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0305/feature3/
http://www.earthlife.net/insects/ephemer.html
http://www.cals.ncsu.edu/course/ent425/compendium/mayfly.html

 
bobwilson
406037.  Thu Sep 11, 2008 8:00 pm Reply with quote

this deserves a wider audience

 
charmedgirl
439762.  Fri Nov 14, 2008 4:46 am Reply with quote

can't understand it!!!!!!!

 

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