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  • Giant Mayfly - (Hexagenia limbata)

    Giant Mayfly - (Hexagenia limbata)

    Swarms of Giant Mayflies occur in the summer and are a sign of the season in the eastern part of the continent.

    Staff Writer (12/30/2014): Giant Mayflies are common in the Eastern United States and can appear in large quantities in the summer months. They represent one of the largest Mayfly type insects in North America and dwell in, and around, water sources. Adult Giant Mayflies can be identified by their twin filament tails, darkened wings and yellow and brown patterned coloring on their bodies. They have very short life spans at this stage of life, mere days, and focus all their energy on reproduction before dying.

    Females lay their eggs in the water, which is easier for the larvae burrow into. The larvae hide in the sediment and sand. Giant Mayfly larvae are yellow to brown and black. They have an identifiable three-pronged tail and slightly resemble their adult counterparts, looking more like a cross between the adult and a mini-lobster. They eat underwater plant material and algae. They are eaten by fish and when they mature into the subimago phase (not quite adults), they are used by anglers for fishing.

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    Details of the:
    Giant Mayfly

    Category: Mayfly
    Common name: Giant Mayfly
    Scientific Name: Hexagenia limbata
    Other Names: Mayfly; Golden Mayfly; Green Bay Fly; Big Michigan Mayfly; Great Leadwing Drake

      Kingdom: Animalia
       Phylum: Arthropoda
        Class: Insecta
         Order: Ephemeroptera
          Family: Ephemeridae
           Genus: Hexagenia
            Species: limbata

    Size (Adult, Length): 18mm to 30mm (0.71in to 1.18in)

    Identifying Colors: yellow, brown

    Additional Descriptors: flying

    North American Reach (Though Not Limited To*): Alabama; Arkansas; Connecticut; Delaware; Florida; Georgia; Illinois; Indiana; Iowa; Kansas; Kentucky; Louisiana; Maine; Maryland; Massachusetts; Michigan; Minnesota; Mississippi; Missouri; New Hampshire; New Jersey; New York; North Carolina; Ohio; Pennsylvania; Rhode Island; South Carolina; Tennessee; Texas; Vermont; Virginia; West Virginia; Wisconsin; New Brunswick; Newfoundland and Labrador; Nova Scotia; Ontario; Prince Edward Island; Quebec

    * Keep in mind that an insect's reach is not limited by lines on a map and therefore may appear in areas/regions/states beyond those listed above.

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