Mound Of Dead Mayflies

August 21, 2017  •  2 Comments

I came across a mound of dead Mayflies yesterday while at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. This pile was at the Sandtown parking area.

Often, all the mayflies in a population mature at once (a hatch), and for a day or two in the spring or autumn, mayflies are everywhere, dancing around each other in large groups, or resting on every available surface. The lifespan of an adult mayfly is very short, rarely for more than 24 hours. In some species, it may last for just a few minutes.

A mayfly’s life cycle starts with the males forming a swarm above the water and the females flying into the swarm to mate. The male grabs a passing female with its elongated front legs and the pair mate in flight. After copulation, the male releases the female, which then descends to the surface of the water where she lays her eggs. Once mated, she will fall, spent, onto the water surface to lie motionless, with her wings flat on the surface, where fish pick them off at their leisure. The male fly rarely returns to the water, but instead, he goes off to die on the nearby land. (Source: The Freshwater Blog)

This is a small pile compared to some areas in different parts of the country. I read that they had to bring in snowplows to clear the piles of dead Mayflies a few years ago. In Pennsylvania, a bridge had to be closed for two straight nights after multiple motorcyclists skidded across the bodies of the insects and crashed.

If you go online you will see lots of amazing photos of the piles of dead Mayflies.

Biologists say when Mayflies appear in large numbers, it indicates not only a healthy population but a healthy environment. That’s because the insects spend most of their lives at the bottom of rivers and lakes and need clean water to survive.

Mayflies - 082017-1825Mayflies - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma


Mayflies - 082017-1836Mayflies - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma


Mayflies - 082017-1833Mayflies - Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge - Oklahoma


Greg Topp(non-registered)
I recall huge quantities of Mayflies when I was a kid growing up in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, at the south end of Lake Winnebago. You dare not open you mouth when they were flying around. The fish would not bite for days after the Mayflies descended. Thanks (I think...) for the memory!
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