Mayflies have fascinated man for centuries because of the brief span of their adult lives. These aquatic insects spend most of their lives as nymphs in water, then develop into winged stages and soon die, most species having an adult life of only two or three days. This brevity is implied in the very name of the order, Ephemeroptera. The mayflies are almost worldwide in distribution, being found everywhere except in Antarctica, the extreme Arctic, and many small oceanic islands. All by three of the twenty families in the world occur in North or Central America, the regions covered in this volume. The book provides a modern, useful, and well-illustrated key to the adults and nymphs. Data on habitats, behavior, and life history are given for each genus. Characteristics of nymphs and adults are given for families, subfamilies, and genera, with brief accounts for extralimital families. A discussion of methods of collecting and preserving specimens precedes the main portion of the text. The book is generously illustrated with drawings, photographs, and a map. The role of aquatic insects as indicators of water pollution has received increasing attention, and in this connection this book will be of special interest to those concerned with pollution problems. Mayflies, besides indicating the presence of pollutants, also help remove such substances from the waters, the authors explain. As a basic reference work, the book is essential for all biological science libraries. Many fly-fishermen are amateur students of mayflies, since the nymphs of larger species are used as bait. With the help of this volume the fisherman can acquire a greater knowledge of aquatic entomology and relate to his sport.
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