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Average Life of a Mayfly?


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5 replies to this topic

#1 NJ All Day

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Posted 11 June 2011 - 05:51 PM

Hello, i was just wondering what the average life of a Mayfly is (if not eaten by fish)?

Thanks
Evan

"Some go to church and think about fishing, others go fishing and think about God."

~Tony Blake~

#2 Taxon

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 02:26 AM

Hi Evan-

Well, the majority of mayflies live approximately one year, a week or so as an egg, then another 11+ months as a maturing nymph, then another day of so as a dun (subimago), and then another day or so as an spinner (imago). But, other mayfly species may live for no more than three months, and have two or three generations during the course of a calendar year.

However, I suspect your question actually relates to how long a mayfly lives once it has emerged from its nymphal lifestage and taken wing. So, the answer to that question would be, anywhere from less than an hour, to more than a week, depending on the species and sex of the mayfly. Hope this adequately answers your question. If not, just fire away.

Best regards,

#3 NJ All Day

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 05:24 PM

Hi Evan-

Well, the majority of mayflies live approximately one year, a week or so as an egg, then another 11+ months as a maturing nymph, then another day of so as a dun (subimago), and then another day or so as an spinner (imago). But, other mayfly species may live for no more than three months, and have two or three generations during the course of a calendar year.

However, I suspect your question actually relates to how long a mayfly lives once it has emerged from its nymphal lifestage and taken wing. So, the answer to that question would be, anywhere from less than an hour, to more than a week, depending on the species and sex of the mayfly. Hope this adequately answers your question. If not, just fire away.

Best regards,

That was what i was looking for, thanks a bunch. Once they emerge from their nymphal stage do you they pretty much lay eggs, and die?
Evan

"Some go to church and think about fishing, others go fishing and think about God."

~Tony Blake~

#4 Taxon

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 07:25 PM

That was what i was looking for, thanks a bunch. Once they emerge from their nymphal stage do you they pretty much lay eggs, and die?


Yes, that's pretty much it. The mature male and female nymphs emerge as duns, and shortly thereafter, they shed their exoskeletons for the final time and become spinners, which then mate. This is followed by the female laying her eggs, and then both male and female spinners expire.

#5 FrequentTyer

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Posted 13 June 2011 - 07:34 PM


Hi Evan-

Well, the majority of mayflies live approximately one year, a week or so as an egg, then another 11+ months as a maturing nymph, then another day of so as a dun (subimago), and then another day or so as an spinner (imago). But, other mayfly species may live for no more than three months, and have two or three generations during the course of a calendar year.

However, I suspect your question actually relates to how long a mayfly lives once it has emerged from its nymphal lifestage and taken wing. So, the answer to that question would be, anywhere from less than an hour, to more than a week, depending on the species and sex of the mayfly. Hope this adequately answers your question. If not, just fire away.

Best regards,

That was what i was looking for, thanks a bunch. Once they emerge from their nymphal stage do you they pretty much lay eggs, and die?


Not to make this more complicated, but to answer your question, they generally emerge as duns, shed to become spinners, mate, then the females lay eggs and die on the water. What truly amazes me is that all of that "programming" is packed into the nymph that couldn't possibly understand its fate as it goes about its subsurface business.

#6 poksal

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Posted 09 August 2011 - 08:25 PM

Not understanding their fate... OK... this gets the dreaded ...LOL...
As (most) humans we think everything needs understanding... At 64 YO I have begun to figure out that many of my friends are similar... have no idea what their fate is nor how anything functions. They buy cars based on what color they come in, and generally believe and purchase whatever TV commercials lie to them, and somehow they seem to be perfectly happy.. while I can't even imagine living like that. So, maybe the mayflys and other "bugs" are just fine morphing, breeding, and dying. One thing for sure, it makes fly fishing much more fun. My wife says all I need is fed, mothered, and bred, to keep me happy... (well she left out fishing, and . and ...and.. )...hummm... ya know what, yeah, she's right... come to think of it, I'm hungry. . ...... maybe I'm not so much more advanced than the "bugs" after all.

..I need to go think on that and see if I can understand it.

-

So... what DO fish think of our flys??? "dauh, look slick, there is a nicely tied nymph over there,... the tippit is laid out nice and straight,.. and the thread has been clipped really tight... this guy is a pro! .. but does he think I'm going to fall for that??? ....oh look ...GULP.. blue! ...what the heck... OK.. I got'ta get this thing out fast.... ooops."
Addicted to fly tying and not looking for recovery.