On 2 March this year, a research group from Fukushima University will present the results of their study in which they believe to have found a new species of mayfly. This particular insect was found in a remote swamp near Lake Hibara. This new species is unique in that rather than living from a day to a week like related mayflies, this particular one has a life span of only an hour.
This mayfly is reportedly a part of the himeshirokagerou (white princess mayfly) family which has around 150 types in the world, four of which can be found in Japan. Grad student Shota Masubachi came across its larva that was about twice the size of similar species. “At first we didn’t think it was a new species, but after studying the morphology we found a high possibility that it was one,” he said.
Being a creature with a life span of an hour seems tragic, but could have some benefits as well. Image if you could never see the second half of Return of the Jedi. You could get in the whole rescuing of Han Solo, Princess Leia in the gold bikini, and Boba Fett’s flying around all crazy like. And then you’d die before being subjected to most of the Ewok antics and their whole “chub-chub” musical number at the end.
Netizens had a whole lot to say about the discovery. However, after filtering out all of the obvious comments you’d expect about a new species found in Fukushima that dies quickly, they actually didn’t have that much to say. Here are a few comments:
■ They’re kind of like the Wii U.
■ Why do they bother getting up in the first place?
■ I wonder if their life cycles are too short because they came out too quickly.
■ It’s a hard mode insect life.
■ That sucks.
Aside from those comments most internet users felt convinced this was the work of radiation from the nuclear power plant meltdown that occurred shortly before the initial discovery of this new insect in the autumn of 2011. It stands to reason radiation always makes insects and lizards super-sized, as so many 1950s sci-fi movies have taught us.
Then again, perhaps insects on the lower order such as mayflies would be the most sensitive and yet the most adaptable to such an environmental change creating this new species. After all you can’t find a daintier creature than the “white princess mayfly.”