My new pond Day 9: Mayflies

Day 9 and mayflies have colonised.

Two spent female Pond Olives were floating on the pond this morning.

Close up you can see the distinctive apricot coloured abdomen of this species.

pondolivecloseup

pondolivemacroshot

The first pond has probably thousands of larvae of this animal – click here to see a tray full I photographed last year.

Pond Olives are quite remarkable little creatures: their eggs hatch as soon as they hit the water, and the little larvae swim off. 

But the Pond Olive is exceptional in other ways too. Most people are fed the poets version of a mayfly’s life: that they hatch and live for a day.

Real animals don’t read poets so the female Pond Olive rests for 10 to 14 days after mating (it must be strenuous), then lays her eggs and dies. As a statistician might say – their lifespan is 1400% longer than is believed by poets.

So next time somebody tells you that mayflies only live for a day you’ll have the quiet pleasure of knowing that the ones in your garden pond – one of the commonest of all mayflies – don’t.

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