American sand-burrowing mayfly


This species is the North American representative of a rare and endangered mayfly family worldwide. It has a rather short and synchronous adult lifespan of only 5 minutes to 2 hours.  The females display color polymorphism, where a light-bodied form lays eggs on site as soon as mated and dies within 5 to 15 minutes, while a dark-bodied form leaves the emergence site after mating  and disperses to other locations where it can live up to 2 hours.  This species is also unique for having exceptionally large eggs that require nearly a year to develop after they are deposited.  The immature stages are predacious on other aquatic arthropods.  Because this interesting insect has a limited range, it is very sensitive to environmental changes.  Photograph by Robert Noonan.



American sand-burrowing mayfly  Dolania americana Edmunds & Traver (Ephemeroptera: Behningiidae)

Habitat: Clean, undisturbed sand rivers

Florida range: Western Florida Panhandle with one record from Suwannee River 

Nymphal microhabitat: Burrowing in clean sand where it feeds on immature sand midges and other small organisms.

Flight: One generation per year, late April through middle of May depending on water temperature. Emerges before dawn, flies, mates, lays eggs, and dies before sunrise on same day  

Occurrence: Rare

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Temperate Hardwood Forest

Florida Arthropod Conservation