"Fly fast, mate quickly, die young." If mayflies had a motto that would probably be it. That's because these elegant insects have among the shortest adult lives of any insect. Indeed, scientists have named this group of insects the Ephemeroptera, Latin for "short-lived flyer."
Mayflies are insects which belong to the Order Ephemeroptera (from the Greek ephemeros = "short-lived", pteron = "wing", referring to the short life span of adults). They have been placed into an ancient group of insects termed the Paleoptera, which also contains the dragonflies and damselflies. They are aquatic insects whose immature stage (called naiad or, colloquially, nymph) usually lasts one year in fresh water.
The California poet Darren "Gav" Bleuel, for instance, had this to say about the insects
“The mayfly never sees the dawn
But once before his end.
To think he’s born
Upon the morn
Yet not see one again.”
The leaves from the Wild Cherry tree drift lazily down as if they are butterflies in no hurry for their descent.