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Why do Mayflies have such short lifespans?

Why do Mayflies have such short lifespans? - Biology Forum

Why do Mayflies have such short lifespans? - Biology Forums. Ask questions and discuss the study of Biology. If you have Biology questions from your homework ask them here!


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Old 06-23-2009, 01:18 PM
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Default Why do Mayflies have such short lifespans?



I know that they've lived most of their lives as nymphs but I heard that after it becomes an adult there is a kind of mayfly that only lives for 30 minutes! After it mates it later on dies by falling to the water or right after it lays it's eggs.

So I was just wondering...how do they die? Is there a part of their body that suddenly stops moving?
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Old 06-23-2009, 01:18 PM
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I Don't know the exact answer, but hey! I will guess.

1) They may not have sufficient energy stores. Perhaps they only eat as nymphs, and not as adults, thereby using up all energy during mating and dying shortly after (evolutionary population control?)

2) They're not "built" to last, in that, perhaps their adult bodies are not efficient/easily damaged and they die soon after mating, living long enough to forever perpetuate the short-lived species.

3) Similar to #2, their adult bodies could be very susceptible to some environmental (natural, not man-made) element. Eg. it is thought that one of the reasons flies die so quickly is that they can see broad spectrums of light and that may damage them.
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