According to statistics from The Mysterious World, Mayfly are the animals with the shortest lifespan in the world. On average, mayflies only live for 1 day.
1. Ephemeris. Lifespan: 1 day. Mayfly comprise a category of insects classified within the taxonomic order Ephemeroptera. They have a rather strange life. The reason they are called Mayfly is because they often appear in May every year in some countries. Mayfly are a venerable insect species that made their debut on Earth over 300 million years in the past. Despite appearing early, Mayfly are listed as one of the creatures with the shortest lifespan in the world.
This group of aquatic insects hatch from eggs, become nymphs and live underwater for up to two years. They then develop wings for the final stages of their life cycle – subimago and imago – for mating. Many Mayfly live less than 24 hours in winged form, while some species do not even live more than 5 minutes.
Most plankton species transition from living in water to living on land and air in the subadult stage, then reproduce in the adult stage. They do not have a mouth or a functioning digestive system at these two stages but live off energy stored as larvae, according to Luke Jacobus, a biology professor at Indiana University – Purdue University Columbus. “Due to the absence of an extensive digestive system, the female’s body possesses additional space for accommodating eggs.”
I once saw an individual carrying so many eggs that they even had eggs in their head. With egg counts sometimes reaching more than 10,000, females can make good use of their short adult lives,” Jacobus said. Like other quick-live-die-early organisms, Mayfly are are targeted by many predators and many offspring need to be produced in order for a sufficient number of young to survive to adulthood and reproduce.
Jacobus remarked, “The ephemeral fossils from antiquity bear a striking resemblance to their contemporary counterparts.” So that means with edibles, the systems they have are still very effective. This group of insects first appeared about 350 million years ago, according to Heath Ogden, a professor of evolutionary biology at Utah Valley University.
2. Gastrotricha (Hairy Belly Worm). Lifespan: 3 days. This is an animal with a microscopic size, from 0.06 to 3mm. They have a transparent body structure and live on the seabed or fresh water. Hairy bellyworms are animals that have both male and female genitals for reproduction. The reason why these tiny microorganisms only live for only 3 days is because they are a food source for many small fish species living in the same ecosystem. Not only does it have a transparent body, the hairy bellyworm also has the ability to glow in the dark.
3. Indian moth: 5 – 13 days.
The Indian moth, a close relative of butterflies, falls under the Lepidoptera order. Moths have a longer evolutionary history compared to butterflies, with some fossils dating back as far as 190 million years. These moths typically sport a primary coloration of light brown, accented by slightly darker veins. Their larvae appear grayish-white and are equipped with a protective membrane covering their heads, with a noticeable thorax segment on their backs. Indian moths primarily seek out food sources like grains and cereals as suitable egg-laying spots.
One distinctive characteristic of Indian moths is their absence of mouthparts, which means they do not consume any food throughout their life cycle. Consequently, they tend to limit their flight activity and prefer to remain stationary to conserve energy. During reproduction, female moths often join males for fertilization, egg-laying, and ultimately, their life cycle concludes with their demise. Due to their brief life span, moths typically only survive for a short duration, ranging from 1 to 2 weeks, with the rare exception of individuals reaching up to 4 weeks of age.
4. Woodworms can live from several months to years in wood, but if exposed to continuous daylight, they can only live for 2 weeks.
5. House mosquitoes: 20 days. Research on the life cycle of mosquitoes indicates that the typical duration of this species’ existence hovers around 20 days. Several factors influence whether a mosquito’s life span is extended or shortened, including gender, habitat, and specific species characteristics. Furthermore, environmental temperature plays a significant role in affecting mosquito longevity. For instance, when subjected to a temperature of approximately 21°C, Culex tarsalis mosquitoes tend to live for around 14 days, whereas at a higher temperature of 27°C, their life expectancy decreases to about 10 days.
Diverse mosquito species exhibit a wide range of life spans. Culex mosquitoes, Aedes mosquitoes, and Anophen mosquitoes, to name a few, each possess distinct life expectancies. Mosquitoes’ life spans span a spectrum, with some living as briefly as 4 days, while house mosquitoes enjoy a more extended life of 20 days. Disease-carrying mosquitoes have a typical life expectancy of 30 days, while mosquitoes capable of covering long distances can survive for up to 50 days.
6. Ant Drone. Lifespan: 3 weeks.
7. Tsetse flies are native to sub-Saharan Africa. Their life cycle lasts from 14 – 21 days. This is a harmful animal that can spread diseases, including sleeping sickness. At first, this disease disrupts the sleep rhythm and gradually drowsiness appears and develops. The patient can fall asleep at any time, even while eating or standing.
8. House flies. Lifespan: 4 weeks.
9. Dwarf goby: 59 days: That is the dwarf goby in Australian coral reefs. The Australian dwarf goby, a carnivorous fish species, falls within the category of diminutive creatures. These fish boast petite, slender physiques, measuring just a few centimeters in length. Remarkably, they hold the title for the world’s tiniest vertebrates. Professor David Bellwood, hailing from James Cook University, has made an official submission to Guinness World Records in pursuit of recognizing the Australian dwarf goby as having the briefest lifespan among its kind. Professor Bellwood’s research indicates that the Australian dwarf goby’s lifespan is astonishingly short, spanning a mere 59 days, with their adult phase lasting just 21 days. During this time, they will try to live out their actual lifespan by breeding and giving birth.
10. Carpet beetles are insects that are harmful to home furnishings, carpets and clothing. They live in Europe, North America and northern Asia with a lifespan of 14 – 60 days.
11. Red fire ants appear in some areas in Australia, New Zealand, some Asian countries, the Caribbean and the United States. Enemies will suffer a painful bite if they attack them. Red fire ants have a life cycle of only 45 – 60 days.
12. Honey bees: 5 weeks – 8 weeks: Bees are a familiar species and play an important role in life such as maintaining ecosystem balance and agricultural production. One-third of human food production depends entirely on the pollination of these small animals. A honey bee hive will include a queen bee, worker bees, and male bees. Any bee species has a similar life cycle and goes through 4 stages.
The lifespan of honey bees varies, depending on the role each bee plays in the colony. In particular, male bees have a lifespan of about 50 – 60 days. After mating with the queen bee, the male bee will die. In addition, if the nest lacks food, they will be chased out by worker bees and starve to death while wandering. 5 – 8 weeks is the lifespan of worker bees. Besides having to raise larvae, continuously collecting honey also reduces the lifespan of worker bees because they work too much.