Ephemera or mayflies are commonly seen during the monsoon and often sacrifice themselves in the warmth of fire or light. It is known as 'eeyal,' 'eeyampatta' or 'mazhapatta' in various places and is usually found when there is dampness in the surrounding.
It must be interesting to know that these tiny mayflies are enjoyed as special delicacy by some tribal communities. The tribal cuisine is known for their rare ingredients and unique ways of cooking. They take incredible pride in their culture and cuisine that have been passed down to generations.
The Kani tribe of Western Ghats loves catching and cooking mayflies. They sprinkle rice flour on sand dunes to drive out the mayflies. Their wings would be clipped off before cleaning and cooking. They are cooked in earthen pots along with water and salt. This helps remove the wings completely. After the water has been drained, the mayflies are fried to crisp in earthen vessel.
The tribal people entertain themselves by singing their traditional songs as they wait outside the sand dunes to catch the mayflies. Most of them have hilarious lines and catchy tunes. The songs often address the mayflies inside the dunes and implore them to come out as the rest of the flies have 'married' and gone to the forests.