The mayflies (Insecta: Ephemeroptera) of Israel: taxonomic and ecological aspects

Mayflies (Order Ephemeroptera) are insects with an aquatic larval stage and an aerial adult stage, inhabiting various freshwater ecosystems. They form a species-rich, conspicuous and disturbance-sensitive group, making them good bioindicator species for ecosystem and community assessments. Taxonomic knowledge on the Israeli fauna is scarce, and primarily relies on studies that were conducted several decades ago. We currently know of 18 species, but unpublished data suggest that 3-21 additional species occur in the country. To update and substantiate the knowledge about mayflies in Israel, this study will include extensive sampling of all life stages in selected localities throughout the country, as well as lab-rearing, followed by morphological and molecular taxonomic analyses. The findings will assist in characterizing the local mayfly fauna, its spatial distribution, inter-species relationships and recommendations for their conservation. This work will also produce user-friendly identification keys for all life stages, and a base for future development of a local index for freshwater-habitat integrity.