Mayfly mystery

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catskilljohn
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Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Mayfly mystery

Post by catskilljohn »

I wouldn't even bother to ask this if it weren't for what happened yesterday. Last week the sulphurs started popping up on the lower Delaware which is exactly one mile from my home here in PA. I work 2 miles from the river in NJ, right across the river from my house. When the sulphurs are up, we get them all over the exterior of the shops walls as they are attracted to the gas stations lights. I can understand this, as they can probably see the illumination from the river in their mayfly eyes. The thing that I don't understand is this...

Coming back from my fathers house which is 7 miles from the river, a 2 lane road was literally swarming with sulphur spinners, most with eggs, for a distance of over 3 miles in length. This road does not have any streams close by, except for 1 tiny runoff stream that is dry from July to February.

How do these hundreds of thousands of mayflies make it 7 miles from the river? Does the wind carry them? It is so odd to see, they mistake the road for the stream during rainy periods which I see on roads in the Catskills that parallel streams but never when they are so far away from them. I just don't understand this!

What in the harrys is going on here! CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

BrownBear
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Location: Kodiak, AK

Re: Mayfly mystery

Post by BrownBear »

Was the road wet?

No experience with your sulfurs, but I've encountered other mays blown off course that were mistaking a wet road for a watercourse.

Allan
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Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:00 pm

Re: Mayfly mystery

Post by Allan »

CJ,

No answer to what you observed. Maybe wind blown? Then again, a check of the weather report may show that there wasn't any wind or the wind was blowing in opposite direction :P .
I do know that a few times in the evening that I drove on the Route 17 overpass on the East Branch, or some overpass near Roscoe, my windshield was so splattered with bugs that I had to stop and clean the windshield. Doesn't answer your question and I'm sure you've experienced the same :lol:

Allan

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Eperous
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Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 3:20 pm
Location: Catskills

Re: Mayfly mystery

Post by Eperous »

catskilljohn wrote: ... How do these hundreds of thousands of mayflies make it 7 miles from the river? Does the wind carry them? It is so odd to see, they mistake the road for the stream during rainy periods which I see on roads in the Catskills that parallel streams but never when they are so far away from them.
Maybe, or maybe winds currents carried them to new places... :?

Ed

Allan
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Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2011 3:00 pm

Re: Mayfly mystery

Post by Allan »

Just had this thought (I do have one or two on occasion) 'Those bugs decided to go where no bug had gone before' :lol:. And now that they have, it won't happen again. But that leads me to a question arising out of that situation: If the bugs mated, and why wouldn't they(?), where did the females lay their eggs and what will happen next year :?:

Allan

catskilljohn
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Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Re: Mayfly mystery

Post by catskilljohn »

They most certainly were dropping their eggs on the wet road, they were everywhere. Fortunately, even though we saw what looked like hundreds of thousands of them, I bet it wasn't 1% of what hatched this week on the lower Delaware.

I asked someone once why if mayflies hatch at a certain time/temperature occasion, why does the hatch last so long? You would think that if the criteria was met, they would all just pop out and be done with it. He responded that if that happened and some natural catastrophe took place, the would be wiped out. Nature makes sure it happens over time so they can be there again and again.

In this case, it was one hatch period, not the only one so even if the ones I witnessed all died the other hatch events previous and after can continue the cycle. CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

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Joe Fox
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Location: Roscoe, NY
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Re: Mayfly mystery

Post by Joe Fox »

I would bet there is some kind of very small trib around. A local friend has a little spring fed stream that is no more then a foot wide and the hatches I have see come out of there can be so large I can't figure out how all those insects can fit in it.

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Barleywine
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 10:38 am
Location: Wyckoff, NJ

Re: Mayfly mystery

Post by Barleywine »

I asked someone once why if mayflies hatch at a certain time/temperature occasion, why does the hatch last so long? You would think that if the criteria was met, they would all just pop out and be done with it. He responded that if that happened and some natural catastrophe took place, the would be wiped out. Nature makes sure it happens over time so they can be there again and again.

I wouldn't be surprised if that explains what happened here as well. This could have been one of those anomalies and outliers that nature throws in to guard against catastrophic events as you pointed out. Perhaps every now and then, a hatch drifts for a very long distance, has a mating swarm, and then drops its eggs on a stream a few miles away, so the species hedges its bets against something like a flood or drought.

It's just that in this case, the "stream" was wet blacktop, which of course nature has not been programmed to anticipate.

Chuck
"The secret to life is honesty and fair dealing. When you can fake that, you've got it made." ---Groucho Marx

catskilljohn
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Joined: Fri Apr 24, 2009 7:03 am
Location: Yardley,PA- Jeffersonville,NY

Re: Mayfly mystery

Post by catskilljohn »

Joe Fox wrote:I would bet there is some kind of very small trib around. A local friend has a little spring fed stream that is no more then a foot wide and the hatches I have see come out of there can be so large I can't figure out how all those insects can fit in it.
I would like to think so Joe, but I have lived in this area since I was 10 years old and I like to think I know every stream, even the trickles. This area isn't like rural Roscoe, its NJ remember! There are a couple of small streams in the area [the closest one is about 2 miles from this spot] but in the past 20 years the area has been built up, fertilized lawns, parking lots, etc, and the streams dry up in the summer. That and they get hot too, like bath water. I cant imagine anything living in them, except maybe frogs.

Good points guys, Thanks! CJ
"Gentlemen,remove your hats,this is it"
"This is where the trout was invented?"
"Oh he existed in a crude,primitive form in Waltons England"
"But this is where they painted spots on him and taught him to swim"

Beaverkill
Posts: 92
Joined: Wed May 20, 2009 10:08 pm
Location: Califon, NJ

Re: Mayfly mystery

Post by Beaverkill »

I bet they were looking for the Turnpike and the quickest route to the Catskills...
Dan Ansbach

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