• Question: Hi scientists, Why do mayflies only live for one day?

    Asked by BB04 to Carolyn, Peter, Richard, Sara, Siana on 20 Nov 2015.
    • Photo: Richard Unwin

      Richard Unwin answered on 20 Nov 2015:

      Hi BB,

      I guess the answer is that they only have to live for one day. Any creature has evolved to be able to pass on it’s genes to its offspring. A mayfly hatches, mates almost straight away and then lays its eggs. one they are laid – it’s work is pretty much done. In face, so perfectly efficient is this process that the mayfly can’t even eat – it’s mouth parts do not develop properly but then it’s doesn’t need to – it’s already passed on its genes to the next generation. In one way it’s the perfect example of evolution, even if its also really sad…..

      There’s a great article here: