I will now conclude my two-part series about annoying bugs. Part I was about the cicada, a flying insect which is as noisy as a 747 and about the size of a carry-on bag.
According to Wikipedia, there are over 3,000 species of mayfly worldwide, and I believe roughly 2,897 of them live in my area. Wikipedia informs me that:
“Often, all the mayflies in a population mature at once (a hatch), and for a day or two in the spring or autumn, mayflies are everywhere, dancing around each other in large groups, or resting on every available surface “
One of the available surfaces that they particularly enjoy is my head. If I so much as yawn while walking my dog Riley, a dozen or so fly into my mouth and, disconcertingly, do not come out. And let me say that I have never auditioned for Survivor because I am not fond of insects as a source of protein.*
For all I know, there is a hoard of mayflies in my larynx as I write this, nesting or mating or metamorphisizing or whatever the hell they do. This is troubling indeed, especially if I’ve been swallowing girl mayflies, because “females typically lay between four hundred and three thousand eggs.”
That’s way too much cholesterol for me!
When they fly into my mouth and down my throat, I try to cough them up, but they seem to like it down there. And while I’m gagging, Riley is trying to catch them, spinning and snapping frantically so that anyone passing by will think there is something seriously wrong with my dog…and his owner.
I grew up in Queens, and I’ve lived in Manhattan and Westchester, but I don’t remember spending my springs swatting at evil Ephemeropteroidea. But in Connecticut, they’re as common as khakis.
Ephemeropteroidea (pronounced “godammit”) is the scientific “order” to which mayflies belong. The name is derived from the Greek “ephemera” meaning short-lived, and “ptera” which is the sound you make when you’re trying to get them out of your mouth.
Apparently, baby mayflies are called nymphs, but they are not the kind of nymphs most men would like to be surrounded by. Except fishermen. They love mayflies! They even make fake mayflies to use as lures. In fact, fly fishermen are called fly fishermen because they fish with real flies or faux flies, not, as I had previously assumed, because they frequently forget to zip up.
Adult mayflies are called imagos. Once, after I had given myself a concussion slapping one against my head, I heard a tiny voice say into my ear, “My name is Imago Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Alas, mayflies only have the ability to be annoying, not deadly.
Unless, I guess, you swallow enough pregnant females.
See you soon.
*And also because I wouldn’t last long enough to even get off the boat at the island.