Arthropoda Overview


Abbreviated Dendrogram


Ephemeroptera: the not so ephemeral Mayfies

Rhithrogena germanica on Equisetum hyemale - photo by Richard Bartz
One of the most ancient of insects, on one of the most ancient of plants. A female subimago of Rhithrogena germanica . Ephemeroptera: Euplectoptera: Schistonota: Heptagenioidea: Heptageniidae, resting on Equisetum hyemale. Despite this being a modern photo, this exact same image could belong with barely any change to any time over the last quarter of a billion years
Photo by Richard Bartz,Wikipedia, Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike

There is something ironic about creatures that live barely a few days as adults existing with very little change over several hundred million years. the Mayflies, whose scientific name Ephemeroptera is derived from the Greek ephemeros, short-lived, hence ephemeral are one of the four most ancient clades of winged insects. Like their relatives the dragonflies and damselflies, they have a long aquatic immature stage (called a naiad or nymph), a heritage, no doubt, of their ancestral home in the mighty Carboniferous wetlands. Experts disagree on which of the three "ancient wing" (paleopteran) groups stand at the base of the insectan evolutionary tree. MAK120521

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