18th Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World

Mayflies have a life cycle with both aquatic and terrestrial phases. Although they may live for several years as an immature nymph in the water, their time as an adult on land is fleeting. Once they leave the water, they must molt before becoming sexually mature. They then typically mate and die within a single day. I found this male mayfly resting on the end of a dried flower head a small distance away from a wetland in a local prairie. It had just molted, and its discarded exoskeleton can be seen behind it.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 08.2020
Date Uploaded: 11.2020
Photo Location: Madison, Wisconsin, United States of America
Camera: ILCE-6500
Copyright: © Anne Readel