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Brown Mayfly (Ephemera vulgata)

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Mayflies are s ancient group of insects. The brown mayfly lives in Western Europe, including Great Britain and Scandinavia. Adults are 14 to 22mm long. Their wings are spotted. Like other Mayflies they do not have mouth parts because they do not feed. They have three flowing tails at the end of the abdomen. Male adults have long front legs for grasping the female. They have soft bodies and a weak flight At rest they hold the wings vertically above the body. . The larvae have mouthparts that look like miniature elephant tusks. They use these tusk-like jaws for burrowing in the mud. The large abdominal gills are fringed. They use them to create a water current inside the burrow, as a way to maintain a steady flow of oxygen-rich water and food particles. The larvae prefer the still water. Males fly in small to large mating swarms in the evening next to bodies of water. Females lay their eggs while they float downstream on the water surface then die. The life cycle is completed within two, less often, three years, depending on water temperature. Although they live for two years, they spend most of their lives underwater in an immature form. The winged adult lives for only a day or two. This is just long enough to find a mate, lay eggs, and die. . Mayflies are eaten by birds, bats, frogs, and fish, particularly trout. Mayflies can be seen in late spring or early summer. They make up the order Ephemeroptera. Mayflies are not related to true flies (order Diptera). Picture taken at Bromham Mill.on 30th May 2012.

2nd Jun 2012 by Diane Earl

Biology, Environmental Science

Key Stages:
Foundation, Key Stage 1, Key Stage 2, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4, Key Stage 4+

Geocode: Bromham Mill
Date of artefact: 30/5/12
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