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Double gill mayfly (Zephlebia)

Taxonomic group

Leptophlebiidae: Zephlebia

Diagnostic features

Zephlebia mayfly nymphs have a flattened body form, sharp spines on some abdominal segments, and double abdominal gills. There are numerous species with varying colours, patterns and gill shapes.

Typical habitats

Zephlebia larvae are common in many hard bottom and soft bottom, bush covered and farmland streams, especially in the North Island.


Leptophlebiid mayflies feed by scraping diatom algae and other organic matter from stone surfaces.

Indicator value

  • Hard bottom: 7
  • Soft bottom: 8.8

The tolerance values (ranging from 0 to 10) give an indication of which are the sensitive taxa (values of 8 or more) and which are the tolerant taxa (values of 3 or less). For more information see: Indicator species

High abundances of Zephlebia are indicative of good habitat and water quality, particularly if other mayflies or stoneflies are common or abundant. They have tolerance values of 7 (hard bottom sites) and 8.8 (soft bottom sites).