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Long-tailed mayfly

Long-tailed mayfly

Larvae of this type of mayflies spend the first three years of their lives in water, their adult lives last for only one day which they use for mating.



long-tailed mayfly, Tisza, swarming, mayfly, ontogeny, egg, larva, imago, transformation, chewing, mating, nymph, subimago, animal, arthropods, insects, arthropod, insect, biology

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  • - Lives in water for 3 years. Females develop into imagoes while males develop into subimagoes, which look like imagoes but they molt once more before reaching sexual maturity.

  • - Only the larvae eat. The digestive system of imagoes is filled with air, which reduces the density of the body and thereby aids flying.


Mayflies are one of the most ancient types of winged insects. They are aquatic insects and can be found in rivers and lakes. Adults, called imagoes, only live for a day after hatching. During their short adult life they fly and dance around each other in large groups, attempting to find a mate.

Eggs are laid in water, where they develop into larvae (also called naiads or nymphs). Mayfly larvae are predators and spend the first 3 years of their lives in water. They develop into winged adults by molting.

Female larvae develop into mature imagoes, while male larvae metamorphose into subimagoes, which require one more molting before reaching sexual maturity.

As their primary function is reproduction, adults do not eat, their mouthparts are vestigial and their digestive systems are filled with air. This reduces the density of their bodies and aids in flying. Males die right after mating, females do so after laying eggs.

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