I found this bug on my apricot tree and was really intrigued about its odd appearance. I am pretty sure it is a mayfly, but am not 100% sure. I live in northern CA about 2 1/2 hours north of Sacramento. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.
This is a Mayfly, but your photo and letter pose a great mystery for us. The cast off skin of the aquatic naiad is visible in your photo, but we are curious how this aquatic nymph got into your apricot tree.
Mayflies, unlike other insects, have two adult stages (subimago and imago), and it is likely that the shed exoskeleton in the picture is that of the subimago.
Further Update: (04/26/2008)
I sent in the comment several days ago about the mayfly imago and subimago; I’m a fly fisherman, among other things, and the mayfly picture with the shed exoskeleton jumped out at me. Interestingly, fly fisherman call the subimago stage of mayflies “duns” and the imago stage “spinners”. These are British terms, and I don’t know why they picked those words. … I enjoyed the back and forth between you and Johanna and her nails. Your website is interesting, informative and fun, all at the same time, and I read it regularly. Thanks for your help.