Mayfly portrait

Images taken in a controlled environment or with a posed subject. All subject types.

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lauriek
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Mayfly portrait

Post by lauriek »

I found a Mayfly at last, been looking for one for ages, but not much water round here... This one landed on our car the other day. It's a tiny thing, body length around 5mm. The head is less than 1mm across it's longest axis..

Image

Stack of around 120 images with Nikon 10x CF objective on OM bellows at around 1/2 extension. Aligned and stacked in CombineZP.

Not entirely happy with the background colour, I think I'm getting a bit bored of my normal sandpaper background so I was experimenting!

rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

This is very nicely done, Laurie. :smt023 I like the dull blue background color.

What you have here is one of the male mayflies with "turbanate" eyes, like this one that I imaged a couple of years ago.

Yours looks much better, by the way!

Not all mayflies have this type of eyes. Of the mayflies that I find frequently, most kinds have the ordinary spherical eyes, males as well as females. The ones with turbanate eyes are tiny, in body size as well as fraction of the population.

I see from your comments that this specimen is tiny too. Is it the only kind that you've run into with these eyes?

--Rik

Cyclops
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Post by Cyclops »

Good grief what strange eyes you have! I've never seen a mayfly up close like that,why would they have such eyes? BTW Laurie I like the background colour as it contrasts nicely with the eye colour!
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beetleman
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Post by beetleman »

They have to have the strangest eyes in the insect kingdom. Excellent job stacking overall and the background color is not bad. it is not distracting in any way with the subject.
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rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Cyclops wrote:why would they have such eyes?
These eyes split the visual field into two portions. The lower eye gives a low resolution view of environment to the side, while the upper eye gives a high resolution view looking more or less straight up. It's really an excellent design for spotting potential mates flying above, while staying in more or less the right place to let that happen.

--Rik

Cyclops
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Post by Cyclops »

These sort of thinghs always amaze me. I imagine the fly must be able to switch between the two sets of eyes,otherwise things would get awfully confusing surely! Such a primitive creature with a tiny brain yet it can do so much. Nature truly is marvellous!
Edit,I just realised it was mentioned that only the males have these eyes,so their purpose would have sexual connotations?
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rjlittlefield
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Post by rjlittlefield »

Cyclops wrote:Edit,I just realised it was mentioned that only the males have these eyes,so their purpose would have sexual connotations?
Bingo! The mating flights are asymmetric. The males need 'em, the females don't.
I imagine the fly must be able to switch between the two sets of eyes,otherwise things would get awfully confusing surely!
True enough, but the "switching" may be a lot easier than you might imagine.

These split eyes are evolved from ordinary spherical eyes, and really the only change is that the upper receptors are bigger and arranged in a flatter pattern. That gives more resolution in that area, at the cost of some area that's not covered at all.

What the bug sees is probably not much different from what a human would see if they closed one eye and placed the other eye an inch or so away from the eyepiece of a telescope. Again, a low resolution wide angle view (around the eyepiece), plus a high resolution narrow view (through the eyepiece), with an excluded area between them (the rim of the eyepiece).

--Rik

Harold Gough
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Post by Harold Gough »

Lovely shot, Laurie.

Re: your difficulty in finding Mayflies in September, the clue is in the name! :roll: :D
My images are a medium for sharing some of my experiences: they are not me.

lauriek
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Post by lauriek »

Thanks all!

Rik, I knew I'd seen a stack of one of these somewhere, it was your stack that's kept me on the look out for one of these guys.. I must have come across it in those months I was trawling through the archives here before I got the confidence to start posting!

I've only seen one other Mayfly this year, and I'm not even 100% sure it was a mayfly, spotted it, thought 'aha, that's a mayfly' then promptly lost it in a bush!

Harold. lol! I've been looking since the start of the bug season this year!

I've got a great selection of bugs round here but virtually no water, so not many dragons, damsels, mayflies, no stoneflies at all.. I do see an odd dragon or damsel but obviously they're good fliers so can make it some way from water. And an odd caddisfly - guess they must be reasonably strong fliers as well..

Graham Stabler
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Post by Graham Stabler »

I saw one at the weekend too, that's climate change for you ;)

Great shot, the "aiming eyes" are quite something ;)

Graham

Cyclops
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Post by Cyclops »

What are the round bulbs just above the antennae, at the front of the head? More (simple) eyes?
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lauriek
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Post by lauriek »

Cyclops wrote:What are the round bulbs just above the antennae, at the front of the head? More (simple) eyes?
I don't know, I wondered the same thing. They're in a weird place for simple eyes, I have a feeling they're probably some other type of sensing organ..

Cyclops
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Post by Cyclops »

They remind me of radar bulbs on spy planes!
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Harold Gough
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Post by Harold Gough »

It looks like the standard three occeli (simple eyes) have been displaced forward and they seem to have benefitted from the big-eye gene.

Harold
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Post by NikonUser »

Harold Gough wrote:It looks like the standard three occeli (simple eyes) have been displaced forward and they seem to have benefitted from the big-eye gene. Harold
I had a difficult time trying to find literature re ocelli in Mayflies. Normally ocelli are rather small but these below the eye are huge. Snodgrass 1935 "Principles of Insect Morphology" references a 1901 German paper:
The ocelli of Mayflies present an exceptional structure in that each contains a large lenslike cellular body ... . . .
So my guess is that these largish spherical organs are in fact ocelli.

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