six legs, wings, body similar to dragon fly
February 18, 2010
While fishing in Canada last summer, we woke up one morning to find these creatures completly covering our boat and dock. I took a picture of one of them, because they just suddenly appeared one morning, and I didn’t see them after that.
I took a picture of this flying creature while fishing at Eagle Lake in Ontario CA, and I’m curious at to what it might be.
Daniel F
Eagle Lake-Ontario Canada


Hi Daniel,
This is a Mayfly in the order Ephemeroptera, and we believe it is Hexagenia limbata, a Giant Mayfly, based on images posted to BugGuide.  Adult Mayflies do not feed, and they live long enough to mate and die, often providing food for fish and birds when they appear in astronomical numbers.  The name for the order has its root in the Greek word “ephemeros” which refers to the adults living for a single day.  Your observation is consistent with the life cycle of this awesome insect.  As an angler, you should be aware that many fishing lures are patterned after Mayflies.  You might also consider using Mayflies as live bait, especially after reading this post from our website.

One Response to Giant Mayfly

  1. Dave says:

    Mayflies: consumed, yet not amazingly popular…

    There’s a history of mayfly consumption in Papua New Guinea (species unknown, I think). But that’s the only example I know of, except for the occasional adventurous fisherman who wants to start thinking like a fish. Yet here are numerous examples of mass emergences; if I were present during one of those, I’d have a hearty meal of them.


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