October 27, 2009

The Mayfly

Are you familiar with the mayfly?

According to Wilkpedia:
Mayflies are insects which belong to the Order Ephemeroptera (from the Greek ephemeros = "short-lived", pteron = "wing", referring to the short life span of adults). They have been placed into an ancient group of insects termed the Palaeoptera, which also contains dragonflies and damselflies. They are aquatic insects whose immature stage (called naiad or, colloquially, nymph) usually lasts one year in freshwater. The adults are short-lived, from a few minutes to a few days depending on the species. About 2,500 species are known worldwide, including about 630 species in North America. Common names for mayflies include "dayfly", "shadfly", "Green Bay Flies", "lake fly", "fishfly,"[2] "midgee", "June bug", and "Canadian Soldier." The mayfly belongs to group 1 taxa, or pollution–sensitive animals. This means if mayflies are in or around the water, the water should be of a good quality.
There are some very important aspects to this definition. "aquatic insects," "630 species in North America" and "if mayflies are in or around the water, the water should be of good quality."

Today on our Sunday afternoon bike ride, Chris and I proved many of these facts. 1. There are a heck lot of mayflies in Memphis. 2. They hatch on the water, or near it, and 3. apparently the Mississippi River is "of good quality."

We struck out from our house on a bike ride and rode down the main street toward the water. We crossed over to the park, and began riding happily down the boardwalk. Within minutes, swarms of mayflies were attaching our nasal passages, eyes, and everything else. I, of course, immediately began whining and freaking out. Par, really, for my course.

As we began to realize what was happening, we looked around and saw all the runners, families playing with their children and dogs swatting incessantly around their faces. When I unfocused my eyes, I could see the swarms and swarms of mayflies EVERYWHERE.

It was like a bomb went off. I immediately signaled to Chris to retreat. We peddled as fast as we could  back down the promenade and across the main street--mostly with our eyes and mouths closed.

When we reached the other side of the street, we looked at each other and realized that both of us were covered in flies. Seriously, we were covered in bugs!

We immediately began brushing each other off and the bugs were flying. At this point, my lovely Sunday bike ride was turning toward ugly.

We brushed each other off, and began riding back into the neighborhood. We took the back route and still made our destination of Miss Cordelia's.

After buying groceries, we rode, very fast, home through the neighborhoods, and far away from the water.

This is a reenactment. The names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Disclaimer: We may not have experienced Mayflies, given that it is October....but it was crazy people!

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