Palingenia longicaudaLong-tailed Mayfly (Palingenia longicauda)

Triggered by water temperature and other environmental conditions thousands of mayflies, called “flowers of Tisza” emerge from the surface of the Tisza river in Hungary. On the riverside vegetation the males have to molt another time before they go ahead for a quick mating – and perish. It is only the females then which form the unbelievable swarms flying several kilometers upstream, resembling a flock of birds in sight and a cloud of migratory locusts in sound. Photographer Solvin Zankl on Tisza river. | Fotograf Solvin Zankl unterwegs auf dem FluÃ� TheiÃ� in Ungarn (Solvin Zankl)With up to 12 cm the Long-tailed Mayfly is the largest mayfly in Europe and the Tisza river is the last refuge of this species which is extinct elsewhere. Researchers were relieved to see this insect survive the severe cyanide spill that poisoned the Tisza in 2000. So it is not man-made but the law of nature to find the river covered with dead mayflies only hours after the clouds have risen, as also the females die just after laying their eggs on the water surface. What a short life? Not at all: the eggs drift, sink to the bottom and the developing larvae live for three years in the river bed before the flower appears again.

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