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Love Dance of the Mayfly
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Mellotron and acoustic guitar.
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Carlo D'Anna
ASCAP

Sun Jan 31, 2016
World : New Age
Take charge
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» highest in charts:   # 118   (75,895 songs currently listed in World)
» highest in sub-genre:   # 42   (12,763 songs currently listed in World > New Age)
About the song
Mayflies or shadflies are aquatic insects belonging to the order Ephemeroptera. This order is part of an ancient group of insects termed the Palaeoptera, which also contains dragonflies and damselflies. Over 3,000 species of mayfly are known worldwide, grouped into over 400 genera in 42 families.
Groups of male imagoes perform a mating flight, or dance, over water as dusk approaches, flying into any breeze or air current. Individuals may fly up and forward, then float downward and repeat the performance. Females soon join the swarm, rising and falling as the dance continues. The male approaches the female from below and behind and grasps her thorax with his elongated front legs. Mating is completed on the wing. After her release by the male, the female deposits her eggs and dies. A few species are ovoviviparous—i.e., eggs hatch within the body of the female generally as she floats, dying, on the surface of a stream or pond.

Mayflies are relatively primitive insects and exhibit a number of ancestral traits that were probably present in the first flying insects, such as long tails and wings that do not fold flat over the abdomen. They are aquatic insects whose immature stages (called "naiads" or "nymphs") live in fresh water, where their presence indicates a clean, unpolluted environment. They are unique among insect orders in having a fully winged terrestrial adult stage, the subimago, which moults into a sexually mature adult, the imago.

Mayflies "hatch" (emerge as adults) from spring to autumn, not necessarily in May, in enormous numbers. Some hatches attract tourists. Fly fishermen make use of mayfly hatches by choosing artificial fishing flies that resemble the species in question. One of the most famous English mayflies is Rhithrogena germanica, the fisherman's "March brown mayfly".

The brief lives of mayfly adults have been noted by naturalists and encyclopaedists since Aristotle and Pliny the Elder in classical times. The German engraver Albrecht Dürer included a mayfly in his 1495 engraving The Holy Family with the Mayfly to suggest a link between heaven and earth. The English poet George Crabbe compared the brief life of a newspaper with that of a mayfly, both being called "Ephemera", in 1785.