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Top 10 Animals With The Shortest Life Span

There are up to 2 million animal species living on earth, and each of these species are unique with their distinct features and idiosyncrasies. These characteristics vary from behaviour, habitat to life span. Animals such as Arctic whales and tortoises are known for their long life, which often span over 200 years. However, there are animals with significantly less life span, these animals can live for as short as just a couple of hours or a few days. Below is a list of animals with the shortest life span.

1. Mayflies

Stoneflies and mayflies, canaries of our streams

Mayflies are aquatic insects belonging to the order Ephemeroptera. During their immature stage,  referred to as nymphs or naiads, they are known to be aquatic and may live for several years in the water.However, when they emerge from the water and metamorphosis into the adult stage. At this stage, it does not survive for long, rarely for more than 24 hours. In some species, it may last for just a few minutes. 

2. Gastrotrich 

Science Source - Gastrotrich

The gastrotricha are a group of 3 millimetres long microscopic, worm-like, animals, widely distributed and abundant in freshwater and marine environments.They swim with the currents until they find another marine organism to latch onto. Their life span is a total of three days and they spend the majority of it inside water.

3. Drone Ants

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Drones are male ants whose only function is to mate with the queen so she can lay her eggs. They do not participate in the building of the colony, defending it or feeding it. Drones die as soon as they’ve fulfilled this function and are rarely encountered outside the colony. They usually have a life cycle of 3 weeks.

4. House Fly

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The life cycle of a house fly is similar to most insects,  it begins with an egg, then develops through a larva phase (maggot), a pupa phase, and finally, into an adult. A variety of factors such as species, temperature and feeding environment affect the life cycle of a House fly, but in cold climates, it can take up to 4 weeks for maggots to become adults.

5. Dragon Fly

Dragonfly - Wikipedia

Adult dragonflies are characterized by large, multifaceted eyes, two pairs of strong, transparent wings, sometimes with coloured patches, and an elongated body.There are three stages of the dragonfly life cycle, the egg, the nymph, and the adult dragonfly. Their life span completes in 4- 6 months.

6. House Mice

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Almost every home has had encounters with these famous rodents. Due to their small size, they serve as prey for large birds, animals and reptiles. Their strained relationship with humans also results in them being killed untimely. Their lives usually span 1 year, but with their list of enemies they don’t usually live that long.

7. Chameleons

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Chameleons are a distinctive and highly specialized clade of Old World lizards with 202 species.These usually come in a range of colors, and many species have the ability to change color. Of all Chameleon species, the panther chameleons have the shortest lifespan with an average of one year. They however are fast breeders and the entire previous adult generation dies before the new generation hatches from the eggs.

8. Mosquito Fish

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The western mosquito fish is a species of freshwater fish. The name “mosquitofish” was given because the fish eats mosquito larvae, and has been used for the biological control of mosquitoes. The lifespan of a mosquitofish averages less than a year and the maximum is about 1.5 years, although those kept in captivity have been reported to live up to 3 years. Female mosquito fish live longer than the male.

9. Guinea Pig

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The guinea pig is a species of rodent belonging to the family Caviidae. Their origin remains unclear, but despite their name, they are not native to Guinea, nor are they closely biologically related to pigs. Guinea pigs live longer than other popular rodents like hamsters, gerbils or mice. They have been reported to live between 4-8 years.

10. Domestic Rabbit

How the wild rabbit was domesticated

A domestic commonly known as a bunny, European rabbit kept as a pet may be considered a pocket pet, depending on its size. These cute and furry animals live up to 9 years before dying.

Written by Emeka Nweze

Content writer and contributor.

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