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Ephemeroptera ~ Mayflies

Only sporadically encountered here in Austin, mayflies are almost always found near water as the adults are well known for living only a short time and must lay eggs in aquatic habitats. Mayflies are distinctive, but might be confused with damselflies or antlions.

Adult mayflies do not feed, and the larvae feeding habits vary from scavenging to scraping plant material off of rocks to predation.

Ephemeropterans usually have four wings, with the back pair much smaller than the front. They are not strong fliers.

Like dragonflies, mayflies develop through a metamorphosis that is somewhere between simple and complete: the aquatic larvae (naiads) go through several stages before emerging from the water with wings. Mayflies, however, are unique in having two stages with wings. The first is called a subimago, and looks much like an adult but is not sexually mature. The final stage is reached after one more molt. Adults and larvae live in different habitats

Size ranges from rather small to medium, with adults of some species measuring about 25 mm.

With so few species and such sporadic sightings in our area, the mayflies are rather hard to identify past order.

These are the Families of Ephemeroptera (mayflies) likely to be encountered in Austin, Texas:

[common burrowing

[small minnow mayflies]

[flat-headed mayflies]

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