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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
▪ In lakes, crustaceans, molluscs, leeches and mayflies dwindle, although predators remain more numerous, feeding on alternative prey.
▪ The loch has some splendid fish and, in late June and early July, a wonderful mayfly hatch.
▪ The nymphs, or first larval stages of mayflies, are also adapted to very particular conditions.
▪ The other main type of life-cycle is followed by insects such as the aphids, grasshoppers, dragonflies and mayflies.
▪ There were squirming, naked mayfly nymphs that had always been hidden before.
▪ This is the day in the life of the mayfly.
▪ Yet the return of the mayflies is no longer as inevitable as the return of May.

n. Any of the many fragile insects of the order Ephemeroptera, that develop in fresh water and live very briefly as winged adults.


n. slender insect with delicate membranous wings having an aquatic larval stage and terrestrial adult stage usually lasting less than two days [syn: dayfly, shadfly]


Mayflies also known as shadflies or fishflies in Canada, are aquatic insects belonging to the order Ephemeroptera. This order is part of an ancient group of insects termed the Palaeoptera, which also contains dragonflies and damselflies. Over 3,000 species of mayfly are known worldwide, grouped into over 400 genera in 42 families.

Mayflies are relatively primitive insects and exhibit a number of ancestral traits that were probably present in the first flying insects, such as long tails and wings that do not fold flat over the abdomen. They are aquatic insects whose immature stages (called "naiads" or " nymphs") live in fresh water, where their presence indicates a clean, unpolluted environment. They are unique among insect orders in having a fully winged terrestrial adult stage, the subimago, which moults into a sexually mature adult, the imago.

Mayflies "hatch" (emerge as adults) from spring to autumn, not necessarily in May, in enormous numbers. Some hatches attract tourists. Fly fishermen make use of mayfly hatches by choosing artificial fishing flies that resemble the species in question. One of the most famous English mayflies is Rhithrogena germanica, the fisherman's "March brown mayfly".

The brief lives of mayfly adults have been noted by naturalists and encyclopaedists since Aristotle and Pliny the Elder in classical times. The German engraver Albrecht Dürer included a mayfly in his 1495 engraving The Holy Family with the Mayfly to suggest a link between heaven and earth. The English poet George Crabbe compared the brief life of a newspaper with that of a mayfly, both being called "Ephemera", in 1785.

Mayfly (disambiguation)

Mayfly is a type of insect belonging to the order Ephemeroptera.

Mayfly may also refer to:

  • Crane fly, a slender, long-legged insect called a "may fly" or "mayfly" in some American regional dialects
  • Deer fly, a yellow and black biting fly called a "may fly" or "mayfly" in some American regional dialects (i.e. Virginia's Tidewater area)
  • Mayfly (film), a 2008 short film
  • Mayfly (band), an American Christian Metal band from Ohio
  • Mayfly, an album by Cy Curnin
  • "Mayfly", a song by Belle and Sebastian featured on the album If You're Feeling Sinister
  • Mayfly, common name of British Royal Navy airship HMA No. 1
  • , name of two British Royal Navy ships

Mayfly (film)

Mayfly is a short film. It was written and directed by Michael Bodie, and deals with the difficult subject matter of assisted suicide and dying. Bodie graduated as a writer / director, from UC Davis with a bachelors in dramatic arts. Mayfly was his fifth short film.

Mayfly (band)

Mayfly is an American Christian metal band from Dayton, Ohio, formed in 2012. They have released one extended play, Vereor Deus, Non Dogma, in 2014, with Voluminous Records.

Usage examples of "mayfly".

The tiller went hard over and the cockleshell darted around like a mayfly.

Mosquitoes are actually flies, but dragonflies, butterflies, damselflies, fireflies, mayflies and stoneflies are not.

WiseMothers and not the transitory and quickly forgotten struggles, as brief as those of the mayflies, of mortal creatures.

Gwalchmai of nothing so much as a shim-mering swarm of midges or mayflies, which always keeps a rough group shape, inside of which each individual is always aimlessly hi motion.

Besides, Mayfly is at least twenty miles away from the other houses that were burglarized.

The mayflies weren't out yet, but there were a few caddises winging around.

As word spread they began to come up, from lower down the mountain: cockroaches by the ten thousand, bees, hundreds of varieties of beetle, flies, gnats, midges, mosquitoes, dragonflies, damselflies, crane flies, mayflies, yellow-and-black-striped wasps, orange-and-black-striped hornets.

The shuttle Mayfly lying next to the Moth had been sectioned off into offices for Ongola, Fulmar, and Nabhi, with a half-dozen comm lines so that Ongola could handle other commitments while on hand at the shuttle.

First for a Mayfly: you may make his body with greenish-coloured crewel, or willowish colour.

The mayfly yammerings of Probsher mystics mattered no more or less than the desperate moves of the Terragens Council, against the grinding forces of an overwhelming universe.