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Ephemera vulgata (Drake Mackerel Mayfly)

Ephemera vulgata is fairly common in the South-east of England and up the east coast as far as Humberside.   Nymphs of this species live in the pools and margins of muddy rivers where the nymphs dig into the substrate to form a tubular burrow.  They use their gills to force the water through this burrow and feed by filtering or collecting fine particulate organic detritus from the water column.  Ephemera vulgata has a two-year life cycle, however some populations may have an annual lifecycle.  Adults can be found between May and August.

 


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Emergence of the adults takes place at dusk or dawn on the surface of the water or occasionally on a stick, stone or plant stem partially or entirely out of the water.. The males of this species can be found swarming throughout the day, and often swarming continues until dusk.

 

Once mated, the female flies upstream and descends to the surface of the water to release a few eggs by dipping the tip of her abdomen onto the surface at intervals, or by actually settling on the surface for short periods.  After several visits to the water the egg supply of up to 6000 eggs is finished and the spent female falls on to the surface.