There’s a Mayfly on my arm.
The poet George Crabbe wrote about Mayflies over 200 years ago in 1785. He compared the brief life of a mayfly with the similarly brief life of a daily newspaper in his satirical poem The Newspaper. Both were known as ephemera. They still are: Mayflies are part of the Order Ephemeroptera.
“In shoals the hours, their constant numbers bring,
Like insects waking to th’ advancing spring;
Which take their rise from grubs obscene that lie
In shallow pools, or thence ascend the sky:
Such are these base ephemera, so born
To die before the next revolving morn.”
Mayflies have, however, been around for 300 million years. Let’s hope the Daily Mail isn’t still around in 300 million years.