Tag Archives: Insects

Mayflies

Mayflies (Ephemeroptera) are short-lived winged cousins of dragonflies and damselflies.  Short-lived (ephemeros) because the adults of some species live for only 90 minutes after they emerge from water; others may live as long as three days after they emerge from water.  Adults have no working mouth parts.

Mayflies belong to the subclass Pterygota, which includes most winged insects and some insects whose predecessors had wings.  They have been around since for about 300 million years, the late Carboniferous period.

Mayfly larvae, on the other hand, will spend between 10 days and 2 years in water as larvae.  The length of time they spend as larvae also depends on the species.  They can be found in lakes and ponds, rivers, and streams; living on rocks, aquatic plants, and mud.  They eat algae and fine organic materials.

When it is time to emerge as adults, all the mayfly larvae of the same species emerge from the water together, at the same time.  Sometimes, the density of the adult mayflies is so great that they appear on Doppler radar and snow plows are needed to clear the roads.

Because mayflies are sensitive to water pollution, they are excellent water quality indicators.  In the early 1970s mayflies were nearly gone from Lake Erie due to high pollution levels.  Fortunately the International Water Quality Agreement between the United States and Canada in 1972 made it possible for the mayfly’s return to the lake.

Each summer, staff from the State Parks’  Environmental Management Bureau staff monitor mayfly larvae in Park streams to determine stream health.

Mayflies can be found in many Parks.  Look for adult mayflies anytime between May through September, with the largest number of hatches occurring in late June through early July.  Who knows, you might find a new species of mayfly – a researchers from Southern Connecticut University and Lake Champlain Research Institute found a new mayfly species in Connetquot State Park Preserve in 2012.

Post by Susan Carver, OPRHP.

Sources:

http://old.post-gazette.com/healthscience/19990726mayfly1.asp

http://www.dec.ny.gov/animals/7470.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bees in the Butterfly Garden

It may be some time before we get to see bees and butterflies again, but when spring comes, we know that our friends at Fahnstock State Park will be ready to welcome them back with open arms and bouquets of native flowers. Check out this vibrant post from Native Beeology!

Native Beeology

Anne Odell Butterfly Garden – Fahnestock State Park –

In a recent venture to The Hubbard Lodge in Fahnestock State Park, I explored a butterfly garden flourishing with beautiful native flowering plants. The garden was alive with tired butterflies sporting tattered wings, queen bumblebees fattening up for a long winter hibernation, and a diversity of solitary bees finishing up their nests.  This garden named the Ann Odell Butterfly Garden was created in 2003 in memory of Ann Odell, an art teacher and gardener.  The winding paths in this tranquil place is a fitting tribute, inviting those who enter to explore and discover all things wild and beautiful.  Indeed, this garden is much more than a butterfly garden.

DSC_0218 Gazebo near the Entrance to the Ann Odell Butterfly garden

DSC_0222 Joe-pye-weed

DSC_0237 Asters and goldenrods

The most notable feature of this autumn garden is the purple New England asters that stand tall in the…

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Wildlife Spotlight: the Bee Fly

The bee fly is an adorable insect which can be seen buzzing around wildflowers in spring and summer. The one in this photo was seen near the shoreline at Harriman State Park. Bee flies are named for their round, fuzzy bodies and habit of flying from flower to flower in search of food. Unlike bees, however, these flies don’t sting! That long nose is called a proboscis, and it serves the same function as a hummingbird’s beak, allowing the bee fly to sip nectar from flowers. But as cute and harmless as the adult bee flies are, they start their lives as ferocious little larva! Bee Flies lay their eggs in the same burrows solitary bees dig for their own eggs. When the fly larvae hatch, they eat the bee’s winter cache of pollen, and then they eat the baby bees, too!

We think these guys are the cutest fly species! Photo by Paris Harper
We think these guys are the cutest fly species! Photo by Paris Harper