Mayfly

One of the things I like to do, is find animals in and around my house. Usually they are insects but I’ve been surprised early in the morning by a hare that was sitting in my driveway. A couple of days ago, I caught this mayfly sitting on the side of my car as it was catching the morning rays of the sun.

Mayfly enjoying the sun
Mayfly enjoying the sun

It stayed perfectly still as I got in close with my smart phone to take this picture. I like the pale green of the insect against the hard red background of the car. It looks very beautiful and delicate sitting there.

This appears to be a subimago because of the dullness of the colour and because the wings are not transparent, which is the case with the imago or complete adult insect. Mayflies are unique among insects because they have a moulting from a winged subimago which immediately or at maximum a few days later, moults again into a full adult. No other insect species moults when already winged.

As it turns out, mayflies (‘eendagsvlieg’ or ‘haft’ in Dutch) are a very ancient species dating back to the Carboniferous. The largest mayfly of all times may have been Bojophlebia prokopi from the Upper Carboniferous with a wing span of 45 cm. The one in the photo was no more than 4 cm long.